It’s Fair Time!

We went to the fair this weekend. Every year, the second weekend in September this fair takes place, and in the last 3 years we have tried our hardest to stay at the fair as long as we can. This year was no different. The ride bracelets were bought in advance and we arrived early enough to ride all the rides to get it out of our system, knowing that we would have longer lines later on and may not get to all of the popular rides again. This year my eldest daughter asked to have her boyfriend come along and my youngest got to have his friend come. My middle child was more than happy to just hang out with her sister and be with someone her age. This year my hubby and I were going to be partly ditched by the older two girls. They would check in at lunch time and then again when we were leaving (of course). My youngest and his friend would have to suffer through hanging out with the parents. We had the plan in play, the water bottles were filled and the snacks packed. We were ready to go!

Earlier in the week we had run into a slight problem with the fair though. Thursday afternoon my boss had been to a client’s house close to where the fair was and was listening to the fire forecast (one side job she has is to help evacuate animals that are caught near wildfires) when it came across the lines that a wild fire had broken out west of where the fair was and that they town was on standby for evacuations. Now wild fires are not a new thing for us in this area. The pacific northwest seems to always have one going on and this fire was no different. We actually consider our summers a good summer if we don’t have smoke in the air. Needless to say our summer has had A LOT of smoke in the air and at times ash falling on our cars and homes. I called my hubby and let him know the news (don’t know why I do this, he seems to always know what is going on). So we had to wait and watch to see what this fire would do. By Saturday the fire was about 85% contained so the fair at least for us was a go…..YAY!

This fair is the biggest one in our area, it’s the one everyone goes to even though we have smaller ones throughout the summer. The rides to really change, but the community seems to all head out in droves to this fair and we were going as well. We got there with the plan to go on some of the rides first and then meet up for lunch to then separate again until we planned to head home. The first ride of the day was the G Force. This ride basically spins you around so fast that you are plastered to the wall until the spinning stops. If you are unlucky enough sometimes you are not pushed up against the wall hard enough and start to flip upside down. Sadly this happened to my daughter’s boyfriend. Normally you just ride it out, shake it off and head to the next ride once the spinning stops, sadly for him, it hit him a bit harder. The empty stomach (other than a flavored water he had) and the force of the spinning caused his insides to want to come out, and needless to say he was not able to just “shake it off” He was a bit green and was barely able to hold down the water and fruit bar we gave him, but he managed to and eventually was able to walk around a little bit more. G-Force 1, poor teenage kid 0.

For some reason the rides at the fair consist of spinning rides, more spinning rides, rides that go in all different directions while spinning, and bumper cars. After lunch and getting my daughter and her boyfriend in a cooler location we headed back to the rides. This time it was the boy. My so and his friend were so excited that they could go on any ride they wanted. They were finally tall enough!! The first go around of spinning rides was really no problem until they decided to do them again, then the spinning mixed with the heat and not enough water led to my little man sitting out in the shade for some of the time while my hubby gladly poured cold water on his head. Luckily his insides stayed inside but after a few times of sitting in the shade we all voted to go look at the quilts that won various prizes in one of the main buildings. By the time we cooled down, settled down and figured out what to do next, we all opted for shopping, ice cream and then to head home.

Another fair in the books, this time around we managed to be there for about 6 hours give or take, 1/2 more than the last time! We do love going to the fair, more to come together as a community, but also it’s to make memories. This year was about the girls going out on their own, doing their own thing. This year was about my youngest having a friend to ride the rides with him. We didn’t go early for the piglet chase and catch, but we arrived to see friends whose kids were in the chase. We had local food, we rode the rides and we had yummy Umpqua ice cream. My hubby and I were about to see people we haven’t seen in years, and talk to others we hadn’t talked to in longer. The fires that were nearby didn’t stop this day, and thankfully they were contained quickly. The two kids that had a hard time keeping the contents of their stomachs in their stomachs put a damper on the moment, but once they felt better we were able to keep having fun.

We came home tired, but knew we had a good day together. More often than not, our weekends are when we are able to do things as a family (our next adventure will be a 5k Mud Run). My hubby and I know our time with our kids is getting shorter and shorter. Times and circumstances have already taken our baby girls and changed them into young ladies with their own opinions and world views. Daily, sometimes hourly I am praying for them knowing that who they hang out with, and what they chose to listen to or get involved in will shape them into the people they will become, and sometimes I am scared to think about that. My son is your typical 10 year old who doesn’t realize that he really is not being raised in a barn. When we chose to show up, and be open to listen great things will happen. Even if this means riding spinning rides and eating fair food, while making sure the kids that have been given to you to care for do their best to drive you insane. Enjoy life, enjoy your family, find your joy and fight your battles on your knees praying for those you love. Until next time:

Life is a colorful adventure

Joy Comes

A couple of weeks ago I sat down to write like I normally do. I had to stop because I wasn’t feeling like I could write and actually feel joyful. Life was going along somewhat normally, work was busy, life at home was routine, but things just seemed off, and so I wanted to wait until I was more joyous to put my thoughts into words. I am working on it but I am not fully there yet.

A few weeks ago I had planned to fly down to my where my parents lived so that I could go to a memorial. When there was an issue with the airlines and I was unable to go, I thought I would be ok. My sweet hubby made it a point to be there for me to watch the memorial on a live feed, but it just wasn’t the same. I cried, I laughed, and I watched as people that I had grown up with were together to celebrate a wonderful man, and I wanted to be there. When the memorial was done I finished writing my thoughts about it, and what had been said, it helped to make me feel the joy that had been hidden. Joy comes from knowing who you are, and knowing who loves you. You may not always be happy, but you will have the security in knowing that things will be ok.

From that event on, it was normal routine, until again a post on Facebook almost crumbled me. I had to lean on the fact that I am more than my profession, I am more than a momma, and I am more than a wife. I am unique, and I am not perfect. You know the saying that there could be a hundred nice things said about you but have one mean thing said will make you forget the hundred? Try and you may it’s hard to get past doing that. Due to one person not coping well with grieving she lashed out at the people that came to help her. She posted things in her point of few that were not quite true, and that made the situation hurt worse. Yes it hurt, but I had to chose to move past, and not let one person’s thoughts wreak havoc on my emotions and thoughts. Stepping away from the situation and seeing it for what it is, and seeing yourself for who you are will bring the joy back into the picture.

School started this week for my kiddos. My youngest did really well during the first few days. My middle child didn’t get the electives she wanted but decided to accept that they are what they are. My oldest started out the first day running really late, missed the bus and forgot to bring a notebook home. This year she is also doing an experiment of sorts. Challenging the dress code. Ok I get it, pretty harmless, but what goes along with this is having her siblings see what she is learning and growing from it, seeing that sometimes you do have to question the rules but try to do it as respectfully as you can. In some ways, I am a passive person most of the time and can be content in most situations. I am trying to find the joy in the moment, and can see that it really doesn’t mean that I will always be happy, that I will always feel content. My girls are trying to figure out who they really are, and social media is playing a part in their discoveries. My youngest is just trying to do what his older sisters are doing and wants to get into what they are into, which of course makes them fight back and want to remove him from the situation. We always try to teach in our home that we need to be nice to each other, because not everyone outside our walls are going to be pleasant and nice.

There is a lot of praying, there is a lot of going to woman older than I am, who have raised their families to get help and insight. I read a lot, I cry a lot, I stay silent sometimes. My kids know that I may not always agree with their decisions but I will always love and support them. Let me tell you, they try and push those decisions to the max, and I push back harder with being there for them, praying for them, taking them to therapy if they need it, showing up. They may not see the tears cried, or the hear the prayers prayed, but they do see that there is love for them. As I was talking to my good friend today she was talking to me about her son when he was younger and the trials and struggles she had had with him. She pointed out that kids will make it through these years, which means their parents are going to make it through these years, they may have greyer hair, or less of it, but they will make it. What is important is to not let your joy die. There are enough things/situations/words in the world that are nasty and mean. Love is greater, always. With love comes joy, with joy comes strength, with strength comes patience and knowing your worth. So when the war is raging on hit your knees and fight with prayer. For your family, for your friends, for your job, your world, your joy. That is the only way to survive. Until next time:

Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalms 30:1-5

Girls Day Out

A girls day out meant a guys day in for the hubby and Tyler.

When the kids were younger we would do special outings with them where either Tim would take the girls out to lunch and then the park and I would take Tyler to lunch and then somewhere fun. We would mix it up and try and do one on one time with the kids too. Each time I would come back feeling like I knew my kids just a little bit better, which made it so that when normal life happens I have a fighting chance on figuring them out then too. Our relationships seem a bit better too, the girls talk to me more about their lives and I know when Tyler decides to care about more that is happening in his life (he is only 10) that he’ll feel comfortable talking with Tim and I.

So this Saturday was the girls trip to go shopping and have lunch. Out of the three of us girls Tabby is the only one that really enjoys shopping though. I don’t mind it, I have fun but I am not one that typically stays out all day to shop. Leah my middle girl likes it even less. She has one style, short hair, sweats and whatever shirt she finds that is clean. Our trip had the purpose of shopping but I learned so much more from my girls by being with them all day. Some was eye opening, like the fact that they are not longer my little girls anymore, but instead they are my teen girls who like to cuss occasionally, they analysis most people and situations but mainly their targets are their little brother and dad. They are different but so very much the same, they want to be heard, they want justice served, and they want to be able to do what they want to do even if it means pushing the limits a bit.

Tim and Tyler had other plans for their boys day in. Since it had nothing to do with shopping it would have everything to do with food, movies, video games and food. The boys stayed home but grabbed Little Cesar’s pizza for a brunch will the Aliens did their part on the screen. Shopping had a play in part of their day, so with that came, candy and sodas to keep them going just long enough to hit the local gaming center. I got a text from the hubby while we were at lunch that let me know that he was a tad sick from the virtual reality game he and Tyler had played. I felt a bit nauseous after he described what the game was: flying and falling and shooting all sorts of objects that just happened to be moving around too. No thanks! The girls and I came home to an empty pizza box and a large bag of opened skittles on the kitchen counter. Tyler and Tim were able to bond over the activities they did. They didn’t worry about us girls analyzing them, and bossing them around. They were just two guys hanging out. Perfect.

Life makes these outings and moments hard to do as often as I would like to do them. When the kids were younger we would feed them, and then we would play with them at the park. Now it’s feed them, talk about life issues, shop, play video games, eat some more and try hard to connect with them without having them close up shop because a touchy subject was brought up. I love learning more about my kids. I am scared to learn about my kids. It is a hard fact that the world has a big influence on what my kids think. I have known this for a long time. I was their age once and I remember going through some of the same things they go through but with less electronics. There are days when putting my kids in a bubble and not allowing the world around them near is something I would love to do. Then I look at my kids, hang out with them, and get to know them that much more and I realize God made them for a reason. They have a purpose. They were brought up to trust in the Lord, and to do their best to be kind and compassionate human beings. They are not smaller versions of Tim and I. To be honest they push the limits with us and have their own paths that they are taking which makes this momma’s heart nervous, but I know they have good foundations. I can’t wait to see where they go, but for now I will enjoy the lunch dates with shopping afterwards. I will enjoy the car talks about boyfriends and dragons. I will enjoy the secretive side glances the girls give each other. I will listen to the way Tyler describes his day with dad and watch how Tyler teaches his dad how to play a certain game.

I can choose to be scared for my kids day in and day out because the world is scary, or I can watch, learn and grow with them while I hit my knees daily to pray for them. I admit some of their interests are far from what I would consider “my tastes” but that is who they are right now, all I can do is take an interest as well and be in the moment with them. I will pray often for them, while enjoy who they are becoming. Until next time:

Instead of bracing yourself for the perils of the unknown, embrace the joy that is here, in your present moment.

Michelle Cruz Rosado

The Act of Figuring it Out

As dawn approached, our dog Charlie decided it would be the right time to start scratching at her kennel door to try and get my hubby to let her out. After a few tries at scratching she was told with authority that it was not time to get up, and thankfully she listened for at least an hour more. At that point she was let out to snuggle down in between our bodies to promptly fall asleep again. Our other dog Jorj (the calmer one) just found his comfy spot and fell back asleep to get a few more winks before the breakfast bell rang.

Our house is a mixture of different personalities all combined together to make sure I have a good sense of self control, patience and humbleness. Our days always start out with the dogs not making up their minds whether they want to sleep in longer or get up to go on a walk with their humans. If they chose to sleep through it, their actions don’t last long as we get ourselves ready for the morning routine. I love the morning walks, my hubby and I get a chance to talk with each other, hash out issues, and quietly walk along enjoying each other’s company. It is funny how different but the same we are. We both do things our own ways and want better communication. Now that we are both back to full time jobs the ability to converse with each other comes at the only times that are available: on our walks, before bed and on the weekends when we are not working on other projects. I don’t know about anyone else but to have an independent streak (me) mix with a “my way or the highway” (him) the conversations can get interesting. We have both mellowed over the years, and there are times when maybe we both should listen more and talk less, but when we look at our relationship we are stronger for the very reasons we are weak.

This summer has proven to me that teenagers are really just overgrown two year old’s. Not so much in the attitude category (though the force is strong with my two girls), but in the sleep, eat, and poop categories. I swear it feels like all my girls do is stay up all night, sleep all day, and if it requires anything healthy to eat they say they are not hungry and haven’t eaten for weeks because they just don’t need food. My middle child is seen on a rare occasion when she get up to use the restroom, and when she hones in on the bag of chips that just opened up. Funny she can survive not eating for days on in, but can masterfully walk around in the middle of the night gathering up a bowl of cereal and a root beer without waking anyone up. This is the same girl that rode 40 miles last year on a Saturday because she wanted to. In a years time she went from an active girl, to one that won’t go outside because it’s too hot and their may be a bit too much smoke in the air (granted I will give her that, the fires around out area have caused unhealthy air quality). Now before I jump to my own conclusions, or you do, I have been told by other parents and have seen it with the girl’s friends that sleeping during the day and eating junk food is what is the thing to do at this age. What a test of patience, and an act of strength to not force her out of her room to do what I consider normal things. It has been a hard lesson to learn that I cannot force my kids to my way of thinking, or make them act a certain way. I have to remember that I am still lucky that I am still a part of their conversations, though not all.

My oldest isn’t much different except that she now does get up at a reasonable time, though it is to get to work on time. She has a job Monday-Friday job that had made her realize that sleep is good. She is my analyzer though. She will analyze the socks off of anyone, and then make sure they know the ways in which they should do things (ok so mainly she does this to her younger brother, but she has put her dad in the analyzing target a few times too). She loves to be on her computer and has a new way of dressing again, that I really have to get used to. I often wonder over and over why the seasoned parents that have gone through the awkward teenage years didn’t band together to help us newbies figure out how to navigate these weird years. Then I realized they were probably just trying to survive just and I and my hubby are trying to now.

Then there is our youngest. I didn’t realize how hard it would be for the little guy. He has gone from being the baby of the family who had his sisters there to play with him, to the youngest of the family that is simply tolerated by one sister and mothered by the other sister. Don’t get me wrong, he can stand his own but even now he is realizing he has an opinion and likes to share it, and he knows that bugging his sisters gets him attention even if it’s not always the attention he craves. He is still fun loving and has no problem telling me he loves me, and I will take it for as long as I can. The boy knows how to work his magic though, stay quiet long enough about something, and the parents tend to forget about it. Don’t let the sisters know what you are staying quiet about and chances are they won’t remind the parents about what it is you are not reminding them about.

What is needed is an instruction manual that comes with each child that outlines what their personalities are, what hypes them up and what makes them upset. Parents don’t stand a chance without these books. Luckily we have wise ones that have gone before us, if we can get them to open up. We have the Bible that teaches us how to raise our kids, teaches us patience, and humility, but doesn’t hit on the specifics of actually raises the individuals that are living in your home. I guess that is what praying is for, and studying the Bible so that the example Christ gives us will help us survive the growing up years. There have been times were I really wasn’t sure if I was gonna make it through the day with my hubby and kids, but then I am blessed with a hug, or kind word, a day for reading and I know that we are all different but because of that we make each other stronger. There are no mistakes when it comes to who I love and live with. Until next time:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.      Ephesians 2:10

Well Done

It’s weird that I was looking forward to going to California. I knew that the reason to go was really to say goodbye to a man that helped shape me to be the person I am today. Ok, so he was the catalyst for it because he raised good, loving sons, who mostly went on to be pastors like him. From the moment that I was told that Pastor Harold passed away I knew in my heart I would fly down and attend the memorial.

This week was going to be a different week already. My boss was out of town, and the amount of appointments wasn’t too bad. The plan was for me to work a half day, and then fly out in the afternoon. When I reached the airport however, I was informed that my flight was delayed, and would leave at the same time that my connecting flight was to fly out, thus making it where I would miss my second flight. Sadly because of this, and the fact that the flights out the next day were also booked to my final destination I had to make the decision to not go on my trip. After calling my hubby and then my parents I did a little decompressing at Target. It’s funny, I figured that all would work out with the airlines and I would still make it, but when that didn’t happen, I was forced to plan a different path.

Sadly I will say I was not the nicest of people to the Travelocity lady I called. I was frustrated and a bit sad because of what I was missing. I realized after that call, when I had to call United to get a refund for my flights that I had to be calm and patient, with a smile on my face and in my words. When it came down to it, I had to start thinking about what Pastor Harold would do if this happened to him. It wasn’t the guy’s fault on the other end of the line that the planes were delayed. It wasn’t his fault that I was frustrated. It was up to me to act the way I should act. Earlier before I headed to the airport I was talking to my kids about this same thing. I talk to them over and over about the fact that they have every right to get angry, but it’s what they do with their anger that can get them in trouble. My son learned the firsthand when he lost his Ipad and computer privileges’ for lashing out at his sister and stomping away after he was asked to move from his chair so his other sister could have a good meeting with her therapist.

Last night as I sat with my family in my living room I watched the memorial for Pastor Harold Korver. My immediate family never got the chance to meet Pastor Harold, but his son Pastor Ken Korver is the one who married my hubby and I. As I watched, wishing I could be there in person, I realized that even now God has me where He wants me. My family sat and watched as one my one Pastor Harold’s sons went up on stage and told stories of their dad, but more importantly they told stories of what Christ did through their dad. My kids got to hear the stories, they got to see their dad sitting next to me comforting me as I am crying through the stories and songs. As I sat through it I was reminded that my life isn’t my story, that the fight that I am fighting and the challenges I am facing are all issues that should be brought to Christ on my knees. I don’t have the same strong faith that I grew up seeing in the Korver family and the Emmanuel Church family, but I know that what I am giving matters and that I am here for a purpose. I don’t have to hold all of the cards, I just have to know that Christ is in control and it is not all about me. I am working on who I am, less of me and more of Christ. Until next time:

Well done good and faithful servant, well done!

Being Mary in a Martha World

There once was a girl named Martha. She was such a hard worker and every time there was a party hosted at her home she was the best hostess ever. She made sure there was always food available for the guests, her house was spotless and she always had kind words to say to the people that came. She worked tirelessly to make sure that you felt at home when you were in her home. Martha didn’t complain much, but when she did it was mainly because she was overwhelmed and took on more than she should. Martha’s sister Mary helped but not as much as Martha would have liked. Mary loved to learn and whenever she had the chance she would sit with scholars and teachers to learn all that she could. On most days Martha didn’t mind this but one night, when they had a special guest at their home, Martha felt the waves of stress overwhelm her. She had so much to do, the soup needed stirring, and the mantel needed to be dusted. The wine was ready to be poured but there was no one available to pour it. From the corner of her eye Martha spotted Mary sitting in the living room with the guest of honor, doing what Mary did best: learning. Mary was listening to Jesus so intently she didn’t realized that she had put her duties aside, until Martha came into the room and asked Jesus a question.

It was actually more of a plea, could Jesus please make Mary help Martha with the many, many chores that still needed to be done so that when the rest of the guests arrive the house and banquet would be ready. I can relate with Martha on so many levels. We as a family don’t have a whole lot of parties and “get togethers” at our house, but there are many days were I am overwhelmed. When I look at my three kids I see three very different personalities, styles, opinions, strengths and weaknesses. They grew up knowing a certain way of thinking. They were taught the value of faith, they were taught the value of hard work, and they were taught that with family we do our best to stick together and be nice, since the outside world isn’t always that way. I look at my husband and I am so very thankful for him, he is far from perfect as am I, and because of that we have our disagreements but we always know that we will get through them. Work and the world take up the rest of what can overwhelm be and makes me start to look around and wonder why it seems there is no one here to help me. My inner Martha starts to shine through, and instead of being a gracious host I turn into a person who is resentful and envious of others who seem to have no worries at all, and so I start to complain and start begging and pleading with God to set things right, to make things easier because after all, I am doing what I am doing to be better for Him.

Mary, Martha’s sister had it right all along, she put Jesus first. How would she know to be like Him if she didn’t learn everything about Him. She knew she had chores to do and a sister to help. She knew that the responsibilities were there, but I think deeper down she knew that she wouldn’t have Jesus in the flesh always, at some point He would have to leave. Everything that could cause Mary stress and make her overwhelmed vanished into the background when she focused on Jesus. She made it look so simple. Just look to Jesus and the things that worry you won’t be gone, but they will fade because you know who is in charge.

I have to go on a trip soon, and one of things that happens when I first step onto a plane is I get a little (a lot) anxious. Over the years it has lessened but the anxiety hasn’t never fully gone away. This will be a quick trip to my parents house, but it also means that I will be taking a few days off from work, and that my family will fend for themselves for a few days. Lately I have worried more and more about my daughters because as they grow older they do start to have opinions of their own, they start dressing certain ways, and they start to have different sets of beliefs than they used to. I know this is all about them growing up, but there is always this underlying line of stress that sets me up to worry about them. It’s funny to think out of all the things I could worry about it is the life choices my girls are making that tops my list. Oh the Martha in me is creeping out again. I start to let the momma guilt take hold. Could I have been more of a role model? Could I have talked to them more about the roads they want to go down? Could I have shown my faith more by praying more and reading my Bible more? Maybe yes to these questions, but then there is the factor of the world view that shows up every time we read the paper, turn on the TV, talk with our family and friends.

When Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to listen to him teach, she was all in, all there, there wasn’t anything that could distract her from what she was doing at that moment. No worries, no fears, no future “what ifs”. She made it look simple because it can be that simple. She put worship over worries. There just isn’t enough room in our brains and heart for both. When my hubby and I became parents we were blessed with the role of raising our kids. It has been quite the ride and we are in the teenage/preteen years now. I feel like I am holding on for dear life. We have wonderful kids that have hearts of gold. Family dynamics help us have fun together but can cause fights as well. Raising a family has it’s challenges for sure, but what if I were to sit at the feet of Jesus daily, twice daily, praying continuously as if I am in a constant conversation with Jesus would my worries fade to the background? Would I have a Mary like relationship? I know the answers are yes. I know that I am not in control, and that I can’t make my kids into the people they are becoming. I can guide, and pray, and be there for them. Oh to be like Mary in a Martha world. There is a need for Martha personalities and there is a need for Mary personalities, but there is the biggest need of all and that is the peace and strength that comes from sitting at the feet of Jesus. Find rest, find joy, and find courage to be like Mary. There is no room for worry when you are filled with worship. Until next time:

And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.    Luke 10: 41-42

Working, gentle Hands

I remember as a kid looking at my grandma’s hands and following all of the veins that went along the back and how she kept her nails short. I’ve always known her to be a hard worker and when she had to take care of my grandpa with Parkinson’s disease, her hands were gentle, but firm. She always put us at ease with a touch of her hands and a warm hug, not to mention a bowl of ice cream whenever we came over. She was always doing thing with her hands, cleaning the house, taking care of grandpa, watching her grandson when his mom had to work, working in her garden to name a few activities. She taught us the value of hard work and being loyal. My parents aunts and uncles all showed us the value of hard work and to really get into a job to do it right even if it meant a little dirt under the nails, because of this my hubby and I try to instill into our kids the importance of hard work and a gentle touch.

Over the years I have seen the power a gentle touch can have, and I have been lucky enough to be the recipient of said touch. When I was a new momma I remember being so nervous and worried that I was doing something wrong. I was given this small being, wheeled out of hospital and was basically told “good luck, you’ll do fine”. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had women come alongside me to encourage and help when I had no clue. The gentle touches that I received came in the form of cleaning my house, a warm meal made, a gentle squeeze of the shoulder and I hug my baby tight. As my first child became a sister twice the help we were given during the growing years and into their teen/preteen years came in the form of playdates, and special moments with friends, helping around the house and many, many encouraging hugs letting me know that I can a will survive the teenage/preteen years.

I have seen working hands be there in need for people an their pets at my job. I firm but gentle hold on a nervous dog/cat. Experienced hands doing precise procedures and surgeries. Hands that have expertly performed blood draws and placed catheters. Hands that have supported clients when they have had to make tough decisions. It’s a crazy place to be working in a field that requires you read animal minds as well and trying to decipher human’s thoughts. Pets trust their humans to keep them safe and to love them, while the nurses and doctors that are there to help take care of the pets have to read the body languages of the pets to know how to treat them and approach them. There is actually a whole training on making sure an animals has a “fear free” visit when they come into a hospital, you know what the main focus is? How we handle and touch the animals. If we provoke more fear or nervousness we are not handling them correctly and are taught to reevaluate the situation. The power of touch is a real thing.

We use our hands for so many things, when we chose to use them to hold a hand, hold a leash, or start a project, it’s amazing what they are good for. Yesterday I had a really hard day at work, actually it was near the end of the day that was the hardest. I had to be there for a client who was putting her 14 year old dog down, and when there was a point that the dog needed some support before we went forward it was the gentle hand of his owner holding him that calmed him down to be loved and comforted by the rest of his family. As I returned home from that appointment it wasn’t my family this time that helped me relax, it was sitting next to my dog and just petting his head. He allowed me to twirl his floppy ears in my fingers and scratch his head and neck. That calmed me down and helped me to be there for my family. He may not have working, gentle hands but he allowed my hands to pet him so that I could start to relax and get to a point that I could be present with my family. The power of touch is a wonderful thing. Until next time:

No other form of communication is as universally understood at touch. The compassionate touch of a hand or a reassuring hug can take away our fears, soothe our anxieties, and fill the emptiness of being lonely.

Randi G. Fine

Summer Fun

Without smoke……..

I live in an area of Oregon that is beautiful in it’s own right. We have all four seasons though some of them are “shorter” than others. We have mountains, lakes, and a variety of trees surrounding us. I have lived here for almost 20 years and I still find new things that can be done. Most of the time though we stick to what we know: camping, going to the lake, hiking, biking and swimming at the pool. Our kids are getting older now which means we can try some new adventures with them.

Last weekend was somewhat of a bust of family fun. We try and do something as a family on the weekends whether it’s playing board games or taking a hike, but last week my hubby and I decided to get the bedroom floor put in and get the nasty carpet out. The kids were very patient with us and did their own thing, but our youngest has a limit when it comes to “doing his own thing”. So by midday Sunday he was done. He had that sad “I am so bored” look on his face. Even the dogs couldn’t change that. We had him help us bang in a few boards but wasn’t enough either. So we came up with a plan, we would be heading to the lake. Over the week the plan was still in play, the hubby even get a paddle boat rented for something new for us to try. As the week went by our fifth season came upon us.

I know, I know their are only four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. In our neck of the woods the fifth season is Fire Season. We have had quite a few over the years and this summer has been no different. Summer/fire season usually is marked with beautiful hot summer days, turned instantly into blah “check your air quality before you do anything” days. This past week we had days that started clear turn into afternoons that the surrounding mountains disappeared behind the smoke. I think we even had a day where we had a gentle ash fall from a fire that was about 30 miles away. Most of the time we gauge what we’ll do based on the air quality, but usually we go about our days. This weekend though, when we headed to the lake, there was some smoke in the air but not enough to keep us home.

“Smoke Clouds”

The lake was beautiful, the kids and the dogs (ok really just Jorj, Charlie is still of the mindset that water is not her friend) played in the lake and loved the fact that they could jump off the paddleboat. When it was time to return the boat, we finished the day with ice cream. I admit this used to be a bigger deal when the kids were little. Now that we have teens and a 10 year old, it really isn’t as big for them but they still seemed to have enjoyed the trip, but really how can we really tell when the girls head off by themselves and “glare” at you when it comes to getting them engaged in conversations with you? I just have to know deep, deep down that they had fun.

Then yesterday happened. So my oldest has a group of friends that she talks/hangs out with. There is a “new” friend that she has been hanging out with more (going to the fair, texting..etc.). I am always looking for situations in which I can tell that my teen girls are still ok with communicating with us “poor lost parents”. You know, things like showing us a new game they started, letting us watch an episode of their favorite show with them, having a “new” friend come to the house to hang out. I am blessed when I am a part of these moments, and yesterday was no different. So to put this into context, my oldest daughter once asked my youngest, Tyler what it would take for him to like a guy that she liked. He said the boy had to treat her right and would also have to be willing to have a nerf war. So this weekend the war was planned. The guns were drawn and the fun began. I will tell you, my son had a blast getting ready for this. He brought out the weights to start training his muscles to carry the load of a fully loaded nerf gun. Even my middle child who tends to stay in her room most days, and in her words “likes only three people, and tolerates the rest” comes out to play.

I really didn’t understand the capacity of hard, when raising teenage girls. My two are so very different but are best friends. One it trying to figure out who she really is, while the hormones are nowhere near balancing out, while the other older one has gotten through that rough patch to enter into the next one of deciding if she wants to stay the same person, while seeing there is a whole new world of guy friends and first time jobs. My youngest is muddling his way through with his parents just trying to stay out of the hurricane that is the girls. This is why we try and do family days. Even if the smoke is more than we want. Even if the rolling eyes and the blank stares are increasing, we know it is important to find time as a family to be together.

Summer and fall are my two favorite seasons, it has everything to do with being outside and enjoying the sun while not loosing the tips of my fingers to frostbite (I know, I know, I am dramatic). A healthy dose of Vitamin D will do wonders for the body. We came home exhausted from the lake, the kids finished the nerf war laughing. We didn’t get much work done this weekend, and that is ok. A family is a strong bond, a family that sticks together is even stronger. We were not made to be alone, and to work all the time. Even Jesus had days of rest, He enjoyed time with His friends and family. To tell you the truth, I know I will make it through the teenage years, I will probably have less hair and need a large bowl of ice cream when this is all done, but I pray that my kids will remember the fun we had as a family and that we support and stick with each other through thick and thin. Until next time:

When you do something beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun, every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.

John Lennon

Check On Your Friends

This week was a very busy week and it’s only Thursday. There was more running around than I care to admit. Work was busy, home was busy but in a different family way. There were changes in the house and changes in life. The week started with a celebration of life for a woman that encouraged so many people in so many ways. The flooring in my bedroom was getting changed out from carpet third flooring. I could say that it was a job that my hubby and I both did together but to be honest it was split 70% him 30% me. During this same time I was trying to decide if I would fly down to my parents place to go to another celebration of life, and then planning the trip. Through all this life keeps going on. Yesterday was a triple booked day at the clinic, and we were trucking along getting our patients seen when I saw a friend at the front desk picking up some medications for her pet. As she was leaving she got a hug from the receptionist, so I thought I would love to get a hug and chat even for a little bit with her.

I wish I could say my friend was doing ok, I knew something was up because she is usually cheerful and happy. As I went outside to catch her it was barely a catch as I ran to her truck as she was getting ready to pull away. I made my little signal to roll down her window to find her fighting back tears. I gave her a big hug, or at least as big as I could through the window, asked if she was ok had to let her go without getting the full story. If she hadn’t come in I wouldn’t have know that she wasn’t ok, don’t get me wrong the intent to call her was there, the time to do it never showed up. I realized at that point that I am too busy. If I can’t even check in on my friends, I might need to slow down a bit.

The same applies to my family. It’s a running joke in my family: the actual end of my work day. There is a theoretical time that I am supposed to be off and I tend to blow right past that time and get home later than expected. So if I am doing this with my family, how much more do my friends not get any of my time. This is not some feel bad for me thing, it’s an eye opener that I need to step back and slow down, don’t tell my hubby I said that!🤣

The pastor last night talked about Hagar, Abraham and Sarai. All three were a part of Gods plan, though they had no issues during their story of taking things into their own hands. Sarai was unable to have kids so she took things into her own hands. Abraham got a bit impatient with how the plan was going so he did things get get it moving along. The end message was that we are all quick to say things are not going as planned, or that the plan is too slow, too hard, too well anything. If we work at stepping back from our tunnel vision and start giving God’s plan a chance we would see that we are not in this by ourselves. God puts people in our lives for a reason and a season. That goes for us as well. We are put into peoples lives for a reason and a season too. So we need to be there for those people. We need to step back and slow down.

Joy comes from taking a moment to breathe, talk to God, take care of yourself and do what you can to be there for others. The one main thing I learned from the celebration of life I was at, is that you need to be present, you should follow your dreams, don’t put limitations on what you want to do, and encourage the people around you. This gal checked in on her friends, and encouraged them and in return they did the same for her. As I am writing this I am sitting in the car with my daughter as she slurps down her milkshake. We are waiting to help a friend by picking up her daughter after church. It’s a small thing but sometimes it’s the small things that matter the most. Until next time:

Choose to be present, do the small thing, make the call, smile more often. This is where the joy can be found

An Inspiration to be Humble

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.          Ephesians 2:8-10

I am so excited to be God’s handiwork. I grew up knowing that I was God’s handiwork, and not just me but everyone around me. Growing up in Southern California wasn’t always easy but for me it was perfect, or as perfect as it could be. I had two parents that loved me, aunts and uncles, grandparents all close by that wanted to be a part of my life as well as my sister’s and brother’s. I grew up knowing that I played a part in my family. We worked with each other, played with the kids in our neighborhood, had family get together and went to a church that taught us to love and help those around us. I didn’t know what it meant to be prideful in my home or church. Humbleness was inadvertently taught by how we acted and cared for each other.

Yesterday I received the very sad news that a person I highly respect passed away. This man was a pillar of his community, he worked on major projects and even helped his city he lived in win great awards for the changes that were implemented to help make the area safer. He urged the church to get involved in lives of the people that lived in and around the building. He was a great pastor who lead our church and helped in growing the congregation. He worked with the new pastors, he guided and he encouraged them. The best thing about this wonderful man…….he was humble. He cared for the kids that came to the church, for the families, and for the elderly. My favorite memory was walking to church with my family, passing his home and having him make sure to stop what he was doing say hi and give each of us kids a candy from his pocket. He was very involved in the church and he made sure to encourage people as he passed them.

Harold and his wife had five sons, some of them became pastors, one is the senior pastor now at Emmanuel. This one family changed so many lives, not because of the words that came out of their mouths but because of the actions they did. One of Harold’s sons Ken married my husband and I. Other sons moved to pastor other churches. Some of his grandchildren are pastors, others play major league sports. Because of the love and humbleness that was taught to the congregation people set aside themselves and their selfishness to work with teens, college students. Basketball tournaments were set up around the city for outreach, and the pastors would go and play alongside gang members and people who wouldn’t normally feel comfortable at a church.

when I moved away from the influence this church had, I missed the humble nature. I missed hearing the messages and even at times when I felt homesick I would listen to live streams that were available. When I went to work with teens at a youth group, I wanted them to help others and be an influence in the community that was good and powerful. Powerful only if it was my God’s grace, and flowing with humbleness. If we do things for others to notice we have our reward, if we do things because we are called to do them we won’t need others to notice.

Pastor Harold’s celebration of life, I imagine will shut down a large part of the city in which the church is located. I know people with fly in from other states, and that there will be a lot of tears. I know that there will be laughter and joy too. Pastor Harold ran the good race. He lived out 2 Timothy 4:6-8:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.  I fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Holding My Breath

You ever have those moments when you don’t realize you are holding your breath until you are out of the situation and your breathing returns to normal?

I have had quite a few of those moments over the years. Sometimes it’s as simple as letting out my breath once I have finished doing a difficult procedure like placing a catheter into a small kitten. I don’t even realize that I have “stopped breathing” until I have stepped back and looked over my work and saw that what I did was satisfactory for the task needed.

This past weekend I had to do the final part of my year and a half training on Hospice and Palliative Care for animals. I had to take the final exam. I was given three hours to complete an hour final exam. It was open book/opening note but that didn’t make it any easier. I sent my hubby and my son away to the movie theater, my two girls were in charge of the dogs and the constant in and out that they love to do. The obligatory studying happened the day before as well as the procrastination of starting the test. It’s not that I didn’t feel ready to take the test but there is a phenomenon that goes on in my brain that happens beforehand that feels literally like everything I have learned is erased. Maybe it’s because I know I have a time limit. Maybe it’s because I know that if I don’t pass the test this time I have to wait until next year to retake the test. Maybe it’s because I know that if I do pass the test people will know I now have specialized training and they’ll ask advice about what I have just learned about, and that in itself is scary. I took my time getting my area set up so that I would be comfortable. I had the notes and the Ipad set up to quickly look up what I didn’t know. I had the computer plugged in so as to not have it die half way through. I had my bowl of chocolate covered almonds and water nearby just in case I started to breath during the test and realized I was hungry. If I had been truly prepared there would have been an oxygen pump set up nearby and some soft soothing music to help calm my nerves a bit. My chair was comfy and my finger was poised and ready to hit the start test button.

Two hours into the test I realized that I might just make it. All I had to do was get enough courage to hit the submit test button. Last time I had to hit that type of button I was trying to become a Licensed Vet Tech and had to pass it or do the mandatory “get your college degree” route to try again ( I was grandfathered into the program based on the amount of hours in the field I had). When I submitted my test then and got the “you passed” message I ran back to my hotel room and screamed and then cried. I called people, I did a little jig, I posted it on social media, I finally realized I could breath again. This time after about 5 minutes of talking myself into hitting the button, I got the “you passed” message again. Now don’t get me wrong I was and am still so excited about passing but my response was slightly different than it was back then. The first thing I did was breath, I took a few deep long breaths and realized I was done with my current training, and then I really realized I was done with my training and my eyes started to get a bit wet. It might have been eye sweat but I really think it was closer to tears. I texted the hubby (who was still at the movies), I texted my sister and then my boss and the hospital manager (both good friends). I proceeded to clean up my area and put stuff away. I had a moment where I thought I might throw up but that went away when I remembered I got to celebrate with some of my favorite ice cream.

This year graduation will be in person if you make it to the conference. The conference is in Florida and I am not so the next best thing will be a short video and a picture of myself sent to the powers that be. I am excited to see where this training takes me. I am nervous as well and am probably “holding my breath” because there is the unknown of where I will go with this training. I have so much work to do to let people in my community know that there is this option available, and having to talk with the veterinarians as well so they know they can inform their clients about this option. Change is coming and it’s inevitable. Being overwhelmed is not. Breathing is mandatory. Support is always needed and I am given a lot of it thankfully. This journey wasn’t easy and there was a lot of planning logistics that happened but I am happy to say I am done! Until next time:

If we don’t change we don’t grow. If we don’t grow we aren’t really living

Gail Sheehy

Family Strength

Family is like brewing tea. I love tea, but not just any tea. My tea has to be the green tea with lemongrass that used to be found in stores all over, and then it started only being in a few stores and now I play it safe and get it online so that I don’t stand a chance running out of it. When I first was introduced to this specific tea I was against all teas and thought they all were bitter tasting and stained your teeth. To my great delight this one was light in flavor and no matter how much of it I drank my teeth stayed pearly white. I recently found out though since it’s green tea you are supposed to get the water to a certain temperature before you place the tea bag in, if you don’t get this detail right you are basically drinking colored water with a hint of tea flavor. All of the nutrients are boiled away. So you make the water too hot, bye, bye good stuff, don’t make it hot enough and you are not getting all of the nutrients that you can out of the tea leaves. Funny how this theory can apply to families.

I was blessed within this month to be able to vacation with both sides of my family. I spent a week with my side of the family at a cabin by a lake, and I just got back from a week in a tent by the lake with my hubby’s side of the family. The families are more alike than different. They both have struggles that they are dealing with, they both like to eat, and they both like to have fun together and genuinely love each other. Oh and they both seem to really like to do trips by bodies of water. The difference is in how loud they are when they get together. My side is like a mild flavored tea while my hubby’s side is a strong pot of black tea. Both teas are great and full of nutrient, they are brewed differently but that is where their strength comes from. I would not be who I am today without the strength and love I get from both groups.

When I got back from my trip with my side of the family I knew what had to be prayed for. I knew what the praises and difficulties my parents, siblings and nieces and nephews had. We had fun together, we talked, we played and we had hard discussions. We knew that when we all left to go back to our respective homes and lives that we may not talk a lot but the thought and prayers were still there. I have some fears when it comes to what is being faced by my family, but we are brewed the same and have been doing this life together for a long time. The nutrients are there with our love and faith. We are cut from the same clothe so we are there for each other. The strength was made perfect from the trials and celebrations we have had in our lives. We are a quiet bunch though, the intensity in which we communicate is somewhat mellow and can be a bit intimating if you don’t know us well. Mild but healthy. Strong but not overpowering.

Just getting back from the camping trip with my hubby’s side of the family has made me realize that they have the same qualities that I stated about my family, they just voice them a little louder. They are a strong group of people and loyal. They have fun together, but must have schedules. All they really want though is for people to do and say what they mean and stick to it. Strong black tea. I had to leave the trip early due to having to go back to work. I usually thrive on having some quiet time to myself and I know I will enjoy it when I get the house back to order, but what I noticed as my friend and I drove away was that I was missing a bit of the loud. Just as I instantly missed the quiet strength I received from my family when we all went home, it was the same this time but I knew I would miss the talking around the firepit, the walks to the park and even the giggles when the adults decide that it really is fun to just have fun with the kids. What I pray for is that my kids will embrace the strength and fun they have with both sides and realize that even when they grumble they are still in a place of love and support.

I recently have been feeling as if the temperature has been turned up too high, not in the literal sense even though we have had record heat waves and have been close to fires. I know I am being prepared for something, I have events happen in my life for a reason and I have had to deal with life changes and attitude changes within my family. There have been days were I have requested to know one in particular that I am ready to be taken off the heat. If I could be given the chance to cool down for a bit, then I could brew what I should brew and still keep the nutrients. Its is a struggle when you don’t feel like you are being heard and the temperature seems to be turned up rather than down, but then people say things that help. A verse of the day is exactly what I needed to hear. I get home from a trip with my favorite ice cream and for no apparent reason at all the cat (Lilly) makes an appearance and actually wants to snuggle. It’s in those moments that the tea is brewing and the good stuff is coming out. It’s in those moments that I can be thankful for the loud, and the quiet but loving people in my life. I have been home for about 2 hours and I miss my hubby, my kids, and the dogs, but I also know this is good for me to be home, and in the quiet. So I say, even if you don’t like tea, find your tribe, your people. Brew with them, get to know the temperature in which you are at your best, get the good stuff from what you have around you. Until next time:

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it

Hebrews 12:11

Loud, But Quiet

This is the week of the coast camping trip. We do this trip every year with my hubby’s side of the family. Our camping spot is pretty well perfect! Three sites 16 people with kids outnumbering the adults, which can be a scary thought in itself. We eat together, play together and roast marshmallows together. We are loud and proud, you could say.

My family arrived Saturday afternoon in a whirlwind of parting the “kid sea” (think hockey playing on a road and a car comes). All the kids stop what they are doing to let the car pass and then it’s back to playing catch, and riding bikes. Since we are the ‘new thing’ of the hour all the kids then want to come see what’s new at our campsite. We did not let them down with a tent, trailer, bikes, dogs and the cousins there was much to see and do. Probably the best thing was having my youngest nephew try and help put up the tent. My hubby was pretty smart this trip, he made sure he was in charge of making all the meals besides lunches. Just think, no clean up, no dishes, no breaking up arguments between the kids. He is in charge of us all getting food onto our plates. I mean he went all out too, menus were made up and printed out, families were put in charge of bringing certain ingredients, and even the kids were split into pairs to do the clean up and help cook. He really did make meal times run smoothLy which is a good thing since most everything else is chaotic.

On that note, Charlie, I love our newest addition to the family, she is just a little timid and shakes when her emotional support dog Jorj isn’t around. Charlie is our new puppy. She is actually about 11 months old, and came to us a nervous Nellie, but she has come a long way, until she was forced to meet the cousins. She really did not know what to do with them. They all wanted to say hi to her and pet her and she just wanted to hide behind Jorj. So we put rules into place the the kids couldn’t do anything with her until Tim or I were around. When they did do something they had to be calm and come towards her slow and steady. The first day she tried to have a heart attack, by day three she was getting pet by all the kids and trying to lick their faces.

Yesterday was our first day at the lake, it was also our group picture day. We all headed to the lake wearing our camp shirts made up especially for this trip. It was loud, it was colorful and it was windy. We found a great spot for the pictures and managed to get those done before we headed to the water. We had inflatable flamingos, boats and even bacon. The dogs got to try their legs at swimming while the kids played and tried hard at keeping the inflatables from blowing away. The log was conquered and the kids had a blast jumping off from it. Sand was in places it shouldn’t be, and we were unfortunately find the only patch of thorns in the grass around the lake. By the time we left we were tired, sandy and satisfied with the fun we had. But quiet time was in order. I gave my hubby the dogs, and I headed to the tent.

Quiet time in a campground is a myth, but if you play your cards right you can get to your tent before anyone notices you are gone. I admit my escape to the tent was because of a small breakdown from being a bit overwhelmed due to the wind, thorns, inflatables and the dogs, but I managed to get to the tent, explain to the hubby what happened, and had him play referee when it came to people trying to find out where I went. People just let me be for a little bit. I was able to rest, write, and listen to the sweet conversations my nephews were having right outside my tent, including their rendition of “Hit me with your best shot!” While they played football. Since my kids are a bit older they didn’t need me constantly, and the dogs are getting a well deserved nap. The hubby is on dinner and the rest of the family seems to be doing their own thing so I had “peace”, thankfully.

I do have to return to the land of the non-hiding people who are camping and so I am so thankful for the loud and proud but am as equally thankful for the time alone I was granted. I think tonight is tri-tip and a cobble4 of some sort for dessert. I know walking the dogs and talking to my kids is in my near future. I will enjoy my family, but I will appreciate and enjoy my quiet. I will have to come out of hiding eventually, but for now it will be a nap first. Until next time:

It’s all fun and games until someone cracks, and needs a nap

Peace, Umm Maybe

I really did think that once I changed my clothes after a long day at work that I would be able to peacefully sit down and write something inspirational and possibly a bit humorous. Let’s just say that it didn’t really go as planned. I think the only thing that I did accomplish is changing my clothes. I did sit down but it was really only to check out my poor puppy’s ears. Miss Charlie was looking a bit droopy on one side, and seemed a little put out that something just wasn’t right. A dog knows best, poor girl had a grass seed in her ear and the start of an Aural Hematoma. Yay steroids! Ok so not really in the sense that she needs any more muscles, but they will keep her ear flap from getting worse. Which brings me back to the part where I peacefully sit down, to work on inspiration and humor.

What does it mean to be peaceful? I know it is different than being quiet or even alone. To have peace means that you are ok with what is going on around you, how you feel about what is going on, and having the ability to not allow the environment around you to change your current disposition. I am not quite sure I have the ability to achieve a level of peace high enough that I am no longer phased by circumstances. Heck my knees alone tell me daily that there is a level creaking they will do just to remind me they are there. I love the amount of activity that takes place in my home. The girls are always talking to each other about secret little things, Tyler has a way with the dogs and can get them playing and running for hours at a time. There are many nights when we end up doing our own thing but even in that there is activity and creativity. There is calm in the routine, as my hubby can tell you, if there is something that has been moved and he doesn’t know where it got moved to, there is no calm or peace. I have an issue with clutter and messes, I actually feel my blood pressure rise, and so when I am told I have to deal with said clutter and messes for a little bit, I do not have peace, calm, sanity, or hope (ok I know that’s a bit dramatic there).

One of my favorite things to do is escape into a book, even better when I am sitting by the lake reading said book. Recharging and resetting, finding your way into your own special level of peace. I find peace when I know my family is doing ok. I find peace when I know I have shown love in the best way I know how. I find peace in doing something fun and new especially with loved ones. I find peace in knowing that someone was helped by something I did. Ok so here’s my humor part of this blog:

What do you call a cow with no hind legs?

An udder drag……

I will leave you on that note. Have a good day y’all!

Still Going Strong

Montana, everything seems bigger here.

We are going on our forth day here, and we have yet to slow down. We have four different families all sharing a big open cabin in the woods. We eat together and play games together. We even have adventures. It’s hard though to come together after not seeing each other for a few years. We all have gone through the COVID 2020 pretty much unscathed, but there still is a fear way in the back of all our minds when someone sneezes too close, that maybe, just maybe it could be something more. Luckily this week has been a cough here and there with a sore throat popping up probably due more to doing too much while not slowing down enough to catch up.

Sunday was our day to get the cabin in order, everyone in heir chosen rooms and a stop at the store for supplies was done. The kids all went down to the lake while some adults visited, and others braved the lake with the kids. We played board games and visited, we ate too much and planned more. By Monday we signed up for white water rafting, let me tell you 9 people in a boat, two kids under twelve, two rookies and a guide who is soft spoken until she needs to be loud. It was a blast. We spent two hours on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, listening to the guide, “TWO FORWARD!”, “THREE BACK!” “ When I say row, ROW!” The kids were curious as ever as to when the next rapid was coming. When we did have a rapid and we were rowing for our lives I would try to figure out how long it would take to pry my sister’s knee out of my back as she is holding on. We got wet, some got drenched, the kids thought it was the greatest thing and we all went home happy, excited and ready for the next adventure.

The funny thing about getting a lot of people together is somethings things don’t always work out as planned. We tried to get into Glacier National Park for the day but arrived too late in the morning to get a parking spot. Our other dilemma was getting people into cars in which sick or possibly sick people were not put in the same car with healthy people. We potentially sick ones wear masks but ,asking the trip a good one for all took some organizing. An hour later, no luck with parking we ended up in the main village for lunch, shopping and ice cream. Low key but still turned out well.

Yesterday was the day though, my sister and her hubby planned this 14 mile hike, it would start in one location and end in another. We needed two cars, and two drivers. One car at the finish line the other to drop us all off at the starting point. Originally seven people were going to attempt the hike, but it dwindled down to five. Oh man were the views breathtaking! Jagged peaks everywhere, flowers in bloom, small waterfalls cascading down the sides of mountains, even a chateau in the middle of nowhere.

Five people twelve miles with two miles added to see the continental divide and a glacier. Five people going through the wilderness away from everything, our hearts are full and our feet and knees hurt. The day was amazing, we stayed strong for each other and we arrived back at the cabin to share the rest of the night we the family. It is such a good feeling to be with family, I love listening to the cousins talk, it’s even better when they play together. I love when we have to rally around each other when one family feels a bit left out because sickness was brought into the cabin. Hard choices were made but in the end we made sure they knew they were welcomed and loved. We are all so different in this cabin. There is a mix of teens, to kids to grandparents and adults. There is a lake out back with paddle boats and fishing poles. There is piles of games to play and places to go where adventures are made. Our beds welcome us at night as we fall into them exhausted. We are strong for each other and we will stay strong. It is such a good thing to come together and enjoy being with each other. Friday we all have to go home. It will be a bit hard since who knows when we’ll see each other again. We will keep praying for each other and will work to stay talking to each other. Most importantly we will be still going strong. Until next time:

Adventures are what you make them, memories are who you make them with.

Sun-tired

The sounds of the lake are music to my ears.

After a long week working, and trying to keep up with my hubby and kids we (the kids and I) left town for a weekend at the lake. I wish I could say it’s at a cabin that my family owns or that it wasn’t a long trip to get there, but on both accounts I can’t even remotely try to say that. So after a 12 hour day at work we finished packing our car and at the bring and early time of 3:30am we started our trip to Montana. Oh what a trip that was, you know that feeling you get when someone’s brights are still on and they are driving towards you and you really can’t see two feet in front of your car. That was most of my morning, but I was lucky enough to have my eldest daughter awake next to me in the front seat just a jabbering away. It really did help, though I can’t say for sure what she was talking about, 3am and brights will make you focus on the road more than the conversation you are listening to. The sun rise was beautiful and by the time we were in Washington all three kids were awake and well…jabbering. We made it to Idaho in record time, which is saying something since I was the sole driver (Tim had to stay home to start a new job). Idaho was interesting, we didn’t really stay long, but we were there long enough to get rear ending in stop and go traffic. I will say this, bike racks loaded with bikes can do some damage to small sedans when you drive an SUV. We were all ok, including the guy who hit us, and in now time flat we were on the road again. Montana really is beautiful, there are so many spots of wide open spaces. The forests are so close to the forests you would see in Oregon, with the elderberries, and the cedars. When we finally got to the cabin it really was a relief to get out of the car, but also to see the family we were driving to meet and to go out onto the back deck and just listen. I could feel the stress of the last few weeks and even the drive just melt away.

This cabin, like I said is not even ours. My sister reserved this place over a year ago for the extended family to converge on. We have all come from different parts of the U.S. just to spend a week visiting and having fun together. Which brings in the lake. I never realized how many lakes Montana has. We have been here a day and have only visited one, the one in our backyard. There is a special kind of feeling when you are an adult but you get to act like a kid. Our cabin has a dock, attached to this dock is a paddle board. After a. Owning of having to do adult things like planning and shopping, I could tell the kids were itching to get down to the dock. Two hours later, after many running jumps into the lake off the dock, and using the paddle board to get across the lake we decided to take a break, cue the “sun tired” feeling. It it probably the best kind of tired feeling to have. You know that you were active, you had fun, in our case we played hard at the lake and to sit and just relax on the back porch is heaven.

And so here I sit, dinner was yummy, the sounds of he kids back at the lake is amazing, and a little further down the road the neighbors are starting to get ready for the fun that happens during the 4th of July (we all know people don’t just celebrate on the 4th). I know when I finally do get to bed tonight I will sleep good. There really is something magical about just letting loose and getting the inner kid out. There is something energizing about to playing in the sun, and then swinging on the porch swing afterwards not knowing if you’ll be able to get up anytime soon, unless a nap happens. I try not to envy those who can have this lifestyle on a daily basis, I am just thankful that the plans were made, and the trip was done to be here enjoying my time at the lake. Until next time:

Life is about balance. You don’t always need to be getting stuff done. Sometimes it’s perfectly ok, and absolutely necessary, to shut down, kick back and do nothing.

Lori Deschane

Getting to that right state of mind

Notice: This post was written last year at around the same time. It really hit home again, and though some things have changed (mainly, my work location and the camping destination, this year we are heading to Montana), the contents are still so valid. I hope you enjoy

This week was one of THOSE weeks, a week where if the button was going to get pushed it did this week. It is quite easy to let negative thoughts go hog wild when things around you seem so hectic. Studies have shown that even one negative thought can change the chemical balance in your brain. One negative thought tends to lead to another and then eating habits change, attitudes for the day turn snarky and people start to realize that if they don’t get out of your way they might get run over by a runaway train. I swore by Monday night if I was rushed to get one more animal taken care of before the last one I brought to the doctor was done I might crack (our hospital practices with “car side service” we go out to the clients and bring the animals to the doctors). I knew I was tired, and hungry and I had been going at a rushed speed all day long. My state of mind was just not right. Sadly even one of the receptionists asked the question of how long we could all go at this pace before we broke down from the stress and pressure to keep up?

She hit the nail right on, if we feel this pressure in a smaller sized city what must it be like for those in larger cities who have more people and even pets to care for? We all then have to take it upon ourselves to get into the right state of mind. For some it may mean talking to someone maybe even a professional, for others journaling helps them find peace. Going to church or doing a Bible study definitely will help you to get into a more selfless mindset rather than selfish state of mind. If like me you are just struggling to get through a week or a day because there is just too much to do, focus on the task in front of you and eventually you will get through your list of “must do’s”

What if you are doing ok in general but you just need to take a break to “reset” your thoughts. This is where I found myself. I actually brought it up to my sister the other day and she pointed out that our dad used to literally wait all year to finally get a week off in which he would pack us all into the Grand Torino and drive 8 hours to to his favorite place in the whole world: Yosemite. As we talked about it a bit more I started to remember how the stress just seemed to melt off of his shoulders right as the car exited the tunnel that came before the panoramic view of the valley and all the famous mountains Yosemite is known for. It is crazy to think that I am exactly the same way. In order to fully reset my state of mind and get back to myself I need to get into nature. Sadly it is not always Yosemite that I get to escape to but I still have absolutely no problem packing my kids and the dog (my hubby usually rides his motorcycle to our destination) into the Expedition to head to where my heart soars and finds peace both at the same time.

A friend of mine once told me that for her to change her thought patterns she needed to get out with her dogs and walk. Another friend of mine has this thing about cards, she can make a card for any occasion and spends hours online looking for the right kind of paper or sticker for that next card. She is in her happy place when she is creating something that is meant to bring joy to someone else. There is a doctor that I once knew that would have so much fun planning and organizing trips for her and her husband to do. She always did it in a way that would be a surprise to her husband, she would tell him the type of clothes he should pack and for how long but then the rest would be a secret until they arrived. They actually both used to do this to each other and if you were around him or her while they were planning you could just feel that excitement radiating from them.

In order to really get into the right state of mind you have to care enough about yourself to see that you need a break, you need to find your happy, you need to realize that if the world around you is too overwhelming right now that talking with someone might be exactly what you need. I talk about my sister a lot only because next to my husband she is my best friend. So when we discovered the “Marco Polo” app it was a way for us to see each other (she lives in Alaska and I am in Oregon), which in turn helped us to be able to open up more about what is going on around us. The app is like a video walkie talkie in the sense you record what you have to say, facial expressions and all and then send it. Once the other person receives it they then in turn watch the video and then return one of their own. We noticed that once we started using the app more it helped us talk out what we needed to talk out in it’s entirety because we didn’t have the other person jumping in to say what they wanted to say. We actually found out in a weeks span we both had to deal with a bear along our walking paths, hers of course was not a small little brown bear like mine was. In all of the apps glory it helps us weekly get back into our right state of mind.

So now the question is this: Are you able to notice within yourself that you are or are not in the right state of mind? If you needed to change you thought patterns to more positive ones could you? A helpful guide from Jennie Allen called Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts could be a great starting point for you. Getting out into nature is a great way to enjoy the beauty that seems to get forgotten in the lightening speed way of life we lead. If you are saying to yourself: my life is more sedentary but I still need a change in mindset it really could be as simple as a walk around the block with your favorite music playing in the earbuds. When my kids were little I would turn the music up loud and dance around the house with them, now it’s fun to still turn it up loud and dance but the goal has changed to embarrass them as much as “momly” possible. So find ways to have fun, to laugh, to dance, to ultimately get your mindset where you need it to be. Until next time:

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain

Vacation on The Brain

One week left…….

Why does the last week of work before vacation seem so hard to get through?  I mean I know the typical answers are:

You are looking forward to the trip

You really need this vacation to start

You can finally get away from life and it needs to be sooner than later

And while these are all valid, it’s also because there is so much planning to do still to make sure that when you do go you can enjoy your trip.  This week is just that, As it is Monday I have already gone through Sunday which I can be honest I did nothing really to get ready for the week or the trip.  Sunday was for church, and then my Tyler man decided that since he did so well with his lemonade stand on Saturday that we would try it again Sunday.  So of course this means set up, and prep for him and for me, well it means I am a helicopter mom, without him knowing that I am a helicopter mom.    So I sit in my living room and I occasionally look out the window to make sure he is still alive and kicking and that some random person doesn’t pull up and steal his money bag.  There are other thoughts that go through my mind as he stands out there but if I voice them, then I am no longer just a helicopter mom, but I am a crazy, fearful momma who thinks the worst of everyone….where is the fun in that.  Most of my morning was doing the mom thing, very important but really I could have done so much in the prep department while I hovered.    What about the rest of Sunday?  Well there was the heat, and there was the not wanting to move because of the heat thing.  Which is why we are at Monday.

I am so very thankful for the planners in my life.  Don’t get me wrong I do plan, and I do prep.  I have lists gosh darn it!  I love my lists and I love that my lists (especially my food shopping lists) magically get taken care of.  The magician?  My wonderful hubby is home with the kids, and because of this he does the shopping and the preparing of the dinners and such.  This all will change next week when he starts his new job but for this week I will fully love that the shopping for the camping trip will be done by him.  I produce a list of the things I will need, he will produce a ton of bags full of food.  It is a great relationship we have.  All joking aside, my hubby is amazing!  He has taken on this role and has made it happen.  I will miss this when he starts working but change must happen.  With this being said, he is the one that will make it possible this week.  Food will be bought, luggage will be brought in, and bikes will be checked.  I will be at work thinking about vacation. 

Saturday will be here quicker than what I want to think about right now.  At the same time I cannot wait for Saturday to get here.  I am sad that Tim can’t come, but it will be an adventure just the same.  Twelve hours of driving, a week of playing at the lake, hiking, and being with extended family.  Memories will be made for sure.   My family and I take a vacation together once a year, sometimes twice.  It is something I look forward to, it is the break in routine that helps me clear my head for when life starts up again.  I have friends that do “stay-cations”, and ones that fly somewhere.  When it comes down to it, it’s going and doing something that is good for you.  It’s no longer the status quo of working yourself to death, if anything this past year has taught us that we need to do more to take care of ourselves.  We have hopefully learned that the better we take care of ourselves with what we eat, how we exercise, and even how we control of our thoughts, we will start to have healthier, happier lifestyles.  Taking a vacation is part of this equation.  So with this, my week will feel shorter than what it is, because I am so excited to go somewhere.  It will also feel shorter because I am not ready to leave.  I procrastinate, I hope things will pack themselves, and I would love for the car will drive itself.  Take your vacations, turn off your phones, tell people that you are out of cell range (even if you’re not), and enjoy your moments.  There will always be something that needs to be done when you get back, so leave it there, and be in the moment now.  Until next time:

I believe the world will have a brighter shine this spring and summer than most of us have ever seen.  I anticipate the birds singing more loudly, the sun feeling warmer, and the outdoor lunches with friends being more enjoyable after we have spent a year in relative isolation.

Dr. Andy Roark

Going On A Trip

In my favorite rocket-ship…..

Ok this one one of the favorite songs my kids sang when they were little, thank you Little Eisensteins. This show was all about a group of really smart kids that went on fun adventures together in you guessed it; a rocket ship. As much as the show was make believe some of the adventures they went on had me wishing I was there with them. Ok not really, in all actually I just get excited whenever I get to go on a trip.

Here is work that comes with trips though, planning has to happen. When I was growing up, my family went on one trip a year. It was usually a week long and it usually was to a National Park. There were five people in my family, we had the Grand Torino with the third row seating facing backwards. We would pack up all we needed for camping. Tent, sleeping bags, clothing food etc. We would put it anywhere there was room and when it didn’t fit it as put on top or left at home. Once the car was packed the five of us would pack ourselves into the car. This wasn’t just our physical bodies but the stuff such as snack foods and drinks that we just had to have, as well as the travel games and books that were to keep us busy. All of this took planning. My mom did this part wonderfully, while my dad was tasked with packing it all in. If I had known there was a rocket-ship available to take us on our trip I would have begged to use that transportation.

Not much has changed when my family today goes on trips. We have one coming up in a couple of weeks. Our final destination will be a National Park. We will be packing our SUV with the supplies we need to survive a week of pure bliss. We just have to survive the trip together. Either I am a glutton for punishment or I am entrusting my sanity to my 3 kids, but we decided together that we would make the long 12 hour trip in one day. We figured with enough snacks, books and siblings sleeping on the trip we will all get there in one piece. Sadly my hubby can’t make this trip, but I wonder if he got wind of the plan and decided it’s safer to stay home. I bet if we had that rocket-ship he would be pushing us all aside just to get the the steering wheel. I digress, planning, this trip is going to take some planning. We have the gift of the internet and Google Maps. We can plan rest stops, gas breaks and lunch hours. We can keep track of how far we have gone and how far we have left. What we can’t plan is the adventure of the trip

We can’t plan the songs we’ll sing, the talks we’ll have. Yes we can try and plan fun stops but the adventure comes in the unplanned. Getting to the final destination will bring an adventure all its own. Instead of camping we have been blessed to share a cabin with aunts uncles, grandparents and cousins. We have a lake to play in, bike trails to find and hikes to accomplish. Wash family group will get to put on display some of their favorite meals to share. There will be s’mores and campfires. We will be in God’s masterpiece, and we will be with loved ones.

The kids in he show always had to solve some problem on their trips. It’s probably why they always got their rocket-ship, so they could have fun while heading to the problem they had to fix. If a rocket-ship means I have to solve a problem just to go on a trip, I think I will stick to my car, or maybe even a plane. When I go on a trip it’s to get away from problems that need to be solved. The phone gets turned off, the scrubs are left at home tucked away in the closet, and the flip flops come out. These next two weeks are a bit difficult, I admit, not because I am not happy with what I do daily, but because I know it two weeks, I have very minimal responsibilities and that flipping awesome! Until next time:

If happiness is a goal-and it should be, then adventures should be a priority

Richard Branson

Too Many Reasons

Yesterday was Father’s Day. It’s hard to miss when you are on social media, it’s hard to miss when you have a dad you love, or a husband who is a great dad. It’s hard to miss when you had a dad that was great but was pulled up to Heaven a little to early for your heart.

Dad’s play such an important role in their kids lives. They are the sole owners of the “dad jokes”, and they tend to always want to step in a fix whatever needs fixing. Over this last week I was reading this book about a boy who ended up in a foster home at a very young age. He would was first put into a boys home and then later into different foster homes. Eventually after a few attempts at getting adopted, he ended up in a foster home that ended up his forever home. This boy eventually became a man who became a journalist. As time went on he ended up writing a story about another boy who was abandoned, and who had dealt with abuse before being found and placed in the same home the journalist had grown up in. The little boy’s story was important but was woven into what ended up being the main story which focused on the ultimate power of a father’s love.

A father’s love can be as simple as teaching his child to ride a bike, and as complex as standing back to see what life decisions his child will make. Yesterday my kids celebrated their dad with cards, Diet Coke and Mint Mentos. It is a tradition now to make diet coke eruptions to let Tim know how much of a blast he is. Every day he shows up, our kids know they are loved, they are taught valuable lessons, some ending in moving large wood rounds from the back of the yard to the front of the yard (let’s just say, you don’t want to get caught mouthing off or lying). He has found what they are interested in and has made sure they can have the opportunity to get better at whatever it is. This ranges from finding the right bow and arrow set for Leah, letting Tabby use his laptop all day so that she can digitally create drawings, and has been to every one of Tyler’s soccer games. It’s not always easy being a dad. Sometimes tempers fly and there just isn’t enough time in the day to get all of the projects done, but when all is said and done our kids know they are loved.

If God can make light come out of a bug’s butt, don’t you think he made you just the way he wanted? Unc, one of the main characters in the book I read was full of one liners like this. Most didn’t make sense at first but then when you read further and got into the context of the story they made perfect sense. Growing up I knew I was loved by my dad, and I know I am still. He has become a grandpa now and every time he is with his grandkids he spends as much time as he can with them. I knew growing up I was loved and that God had made me the way I am for a reason. I didn’t know how much I was truly loved until I saw the way my dad was with my kids. I guess it comes down to the fact that while I was a kid I just knew he was always there, he was a staple in my life. Now that I am grown, married and have three kids, I see how he lights up when he is around them. I have a feeling that my kids will see their dad in the same way. He is and has always been there for them, so he is a staple in their lives. I don’t think they really see who he is really, but they will. They will when he is rocking one of their kids, or teaching them to do something fun.

Yesterday we celebrated Tim being a dad. I wish everyone had a dad to celebrate, and love, but I know that can’t always be the case. I am who I am for so many reasons but one of the biggest reasons is because my dad decided to be there, he decided to show up and teach us how to be decent human beings. He taught be the value of hard work and to have integrity. He wasn’t always a rough and tumble kind of dad, but I have so many wonderful memories hiking and camping, and playing without a care in the world because my dad was there as a solid foundation in which I could jump from. I know that Tim is that for our kids. He is a lot more rough and tumble, he will do his best to get a rise out of the kids, but when all is said and done he is a dad who really loves his kids.

Dad’s may not always be dads biologically. They may be grandpas, uncles, step dads, leaders in a church. When a man makes a choice to help raise a child he is taking on one of the most important jobs in the world, even Christ said “let the children come to me” We should celebrate our dads, and father figures more than just once a a year, heck we should celebrate our moms an mother figures more too. Take the time to reach out to your dad to thank them for helping you become who you are. I know I need to do this more than once a year, so while I still have more to say, you get my point, so why not do what I am going to do and schedule in times onto my calendar to call my dad more. Until next time:

“The bloom doesn’t come from up here”-he brushed away some crushed bark and loose dirt from around the roots-“it comes out of here”. He held the orange clay pot in both hands. “Care for the roots, and the flower will bloom all on it’s own.”

Excerpt from the book Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin

Are You Paying But Not Showing Up?

I got this! I looked on their website and I love all of the classes and what they offer. I even put it in my calendar to help me remember. When I first got married my hubby and I decided that we should join the gym. We went in, read the paperwork and signed the contract saying we would pay the monthly dues whether we showed up or not. We went religiously for a few months, and then we started not showing up all that regularly, and then not at all claiming many different reasons, but all really pointing to where our priorities lied at the time. We still had to pay that monthly due though. We learned it was easier to pay the dues than it was to show up.

Fast forward about a year, we didn’t show backup to the gym, instead we were able to have a friend buy our contract from us. When we signed up we really believed we could make it work, we were young, without kids and all the time in the world to do what we wanted. Our priorities were not set right though. Almost as if we bit off more than we could chew. I wish I could say that this was the last time I “paid for something and didn’t show up”. It may not have been with just money that things were paid for. More often than not it was time that was the currency, it was commitment, it was my peace.

When I was still in the mindset that I had all the time in the world, I would sign up to any and every activity or workday that my high school youth group planned. It was just something I did and I enjoyed doing whatever it was. In college it seemed time was a thing that was slowly going away even though there was still 24 hrs in the day. Work and school took a lot of time and I will admit there were nights when I really, really wanted to call in “sick” so I could spend more time with friends. Time becomes more valuable than money. Especially when it there just isn’t enough of it. Every time I get home from work I realize this fact. I end up not having enough time to listen to the different stories the kids tell me, when there is also schoolwork, dinner, and sleep. So what do you do? I actually had to acknowledge the fact that there is not enough time, accept it and then work to make the important parts of my life the priority.

This past month my daughter and I just received our “clearance” to start volunteering in the children’s ministry at church. I had to have a background check and both Tabby and I had to meet with the directors. One of the things they asked was how many Sundays did we want to work and if I wanted to teach. Tabby got off easy with being a helper. This came down to how much I wanted to commit to. My weekends are “sacred”. I finally don’t have to work on Saturdays….thanks Tawnia, so that means I have two days of “freedom” and I am being asked how much of that freedom to I want to commit to give away. Sounds easy enough except I don’t want to go down the road of “paying and not showing up”. Kids are amazing little creatures and are fun to be around as well as teach, so I committed to two Sundays a month and teaching on one of those Sundays. So far so good. It’s actually such a relief to show up and not do much of anything but be with the kids and enjoy the world through their eyes. If you haven’t tried it, your missing out of the imaginary tea you can have with your chocolate syrup balloon.

Peace all too often it can go away with the environment you find yourself in. Don’t believe me? Try waking up in the morning and while walking out to the living room to read you devotion you get asked 10 different questions in a 10 second time frame from your 10 year old son whose been up for the last half housing waiting for the whites of your eyes to show up. Nope, no peace there. Peace is a currency that can buy the most wonderful moments and can be filled with a joy that is a deep down to your soul joy. Peace is a currency you show be very careful in spending, when you give up some of your peace it should be for something very important. Sadly we tend to trade peace for worry. I am a huge culprit for this. I want to hold on to the peace I receive when I pray for my kids, my family, my marriage, but then worry comes creeping in the back door and steals from my bounty. Crazy thing is, peace also finds its way into parts and pieces of my life by just being in the moment, turning off the phone, TV, noise. Peace definitely follows and finds me in the woods, in nature. It finds me in the quiet of prayer.

Just as it is silly to pay for a gym membership and not show up to workout, it is also silly to spend your own personal currency on things and people that are not worth showing up to. I still wish I had more time, I hope that when I make a commitment people know I will stick to it, and peace is powerful. The more you have of it the more joy you will have as well. Until next time:

For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work,patience,love, self-sacrifice – no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service

John Burroughs

There Is Always Something

There is always a bill to be paid, there is always a meal to be made, or a kid that needs something even if it’s an attitude adjustment. The reality that we are always going up against something or going after some type of satisfaction, makes me notice that we are always trying to feed into life. We are never full, our thirst is never satisfied. We have been told that if we keep pursuing, keep dreaming we can obtain what we want.

I have to say I have had to come to terms with the fact that this just isn’t true. Especially when the things I would say I want are not necessarily things I can hold in my hand. I hunger and thirst for things that are not material. As a momma I hunger and thirst for my kids to know and feel love, not just from friends and family but from a future spouse, but most importantly to know and feel God’s love. I would have to play God for this to happen though, and I am far from perfect far from being that Holy. Thank goodness I can’t play that role, but it doesn’t stop me from worrying about my kids snd wanting more for them. My kid’s interests vary widely from bike riding to archery to Minecraft. Some of their interest do no line up with what I would like for them to be doing though. I had an epiphany happened last night where I would go to my lovely little ones and see if they would be willing to give up some of their less than desirable hobbies for one week to see if it changed their outlook on life just a bit. Of course I would have to make it worth their effort but I am over curious to see the results. I will admit there are days when I would love to go make to “My Little Pony” instead of Fortnite, and FNAF, but sadly I think those days are behind me which means I am holding on for dear life now, cause things just got interesting.

Do you ever notice when you try something new there is always layers that come with that? Whenever I start a new project I am hesitant to let others know about it until I know I will be able to finish it. We want people to be excited for us but are afraid that the opposite will happen. There is always something that holds us back right? What if instead we did whatever it is we are doing and we went forward no matter what other people thought. When I started to do my hospice and palliative care training I asked the veterinarians in the town first to see if they thought it would be a welcomed service. I got mixed reviews to say the least. I went forward anyways and, now that I am closed t o finishing my training I have learned from pet owners that it is a service they wished was around sooner. Part of my end game for my training is to of course use my new learned skills more often the the person in the practice I am in. It is not so easy when your role is a nurse and not the doctor, so what do you do? You keep going forward, you encourage your doctor to try a new idea, you support your pet parents and you give their pets the help they need. You push aside the naysayers and you go forward knowing that you are building up trust and respect for a service that is desperately needed. Layers, it’s always something.

Church yesterday talked about being hungry and thirsty for something, and when you realize what that “something” is you will then have the satisfaction you crave. The world says that “something” could be anything you set you heart to. The Bible says that “something” could only be Christ. So when you are a momma like me, you have to put your kids lives in Christ’s care. When you are looking to do something more for people you have to put that in Christ’s care. If you want to find satisfaction in your life with the people and events involved you have to put your trust in the One who cares. I wish life was easy, I know it’s never going to be. I want to have the right answers, I want peace, I want to have things the way I want them. Oh how selfish. I should be more selfless. I should let Christ be in control, and have more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. That is a tall order. It’s even harder when others around me are not striving to have those things. I am so very thankful that I am told this in Matthew 11:28:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

And in Isiah 40:31:
But those who wait on the Lord shall nenes their strength;  They shall mount up on wings like eagles, They shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Bees and Flies

Sweet vs. Garbage

Did you know that being nice will get you further in life than being nasty? Not everyone wants to hear what they have done wrong, or that they don’t match up to your expectations. While it has been hard in the last year and and half to show a smile behind the mask, it is still appreciated and can be “heard” in your voice and “seen” in the eyes. Bees have the lucky job of going from flower to flower to pick up pollen to bring back to the hive in which it will eventually be made into honey. Bees are hard workers and do all they can for the health of the hive and the queen. On the flip side, we have flies. I have yet to hear of a good work flies do other than their larva helping with the decaying process of dead beings. Normally we are swatting them away from our food, hoping that we don’t get them in the house, and can tell when garbage is around based on the amount of flies nearby. One helps with pollination and ultimately life, while the other deals with garbage and decay. They both exists in the same areas but if they could talk you would not hear the bees explaining to the flies why honey is better than garbage. They each just do what they do.

Wouldn’t that be nice if we as people could do that? Spread goodness and life around like pollen, and let the nastiness and negativity be blown with the wind. I met a client for the first time the other day. I was told he could be a little gruff and that he would appreciate that I have a title. I prepared myself for a grumpy guy, but found that I was just up against a guy who just wanted to see a smile. He was tired of the masks, he was tired of the separation that was becoming the new normal. He just wanted a person that smiled at him, showed respect, and knew that his dogs meant a lot to him. I will say it was very nice to be able to give him all that he wanted. After the appointment he thanked me for doing what I did. I was a happy little “bee” at that moment.

I will admit it is hard sometimes to remember the good, when a bad situation happens. I remember being told that I could have a day of good things, good thoughts, good actions, all be tossed to the wind by just one person doing something negative. It’s like stepping in poop, or getting gum on your shoe, it just sucks the joy out. It’s like a fly landing right in the middle of your dinner. You know in the back of your mind it probably was on that same poop pile you stepped in earlier, which then really makes you not want to eat the dinner you just prepared….ugh! See how it can be hard to look for good when bad can happen so quickly? This though is where you have to choose. Do you want to be a bee or a fly?

My last blog post Wildflowers talks about how wildflower bloom where they are. Most of the time it’s the bees helping them to pollenate and spread. Busy little bees help us have flowers, fruits, veggies. They have a purpose, they spread life, they create such a positive feeling, because of what they represent. They are too busy to be idle, they mind their business but if I were to see a bee as a human, I would see a happy hard working person. Someone who doesn’t need or want to have negativity around them or come from their mouths. On the flip side, flies would be the crotchety, nasty person who wakes up in a bad mood and has to make sure everyone knows it. I have a friend that just lights up when she talks about her bees. She is a bee keeper and has 4-5 hives in her backyard. She makes sure that her bees are healthy and have a good place to call home. Now if instead the bees were flies, I don’t think my friend would light up as quickly. I think instead she would be working hard to find the source as to why their are flies all around her area.

Ok so what does this all have to do with living joyfully? Well I would think it would be obvious. Don’t be a fly! Don’t be negative, don’t eat crap, don’t hang around things/people that cause you to feel less alive inside, don’t bug people, instead strive to be like a bee. Work hard, take pride in your home, be devoted to your loved ones, spread life, buzz around to the flowers and enjoy life. We have had a tough year and a half so far, we were never told life would be easy. You can choose the attitude you want to have about the circumstances you are currently in. If you don’t like something in your life, whether it’s a book, or the way you think about yourself, work to change it? Search for the flowers, search for the places where you can bloom and spread joy. After all, it’s what will ultimately help you grown. I loved that I was able to smile at the client I had. I loved that I could talk about his dogs, and that I accidently called his mom his wife (it wasn’t clarified in our system), we laughed about it and moved on. I feel more alive when I am joyful, when I am positive, when I can smile at someone. How about you? Until next time:

And the dandelion does not stop growing, because it is told it is a weed. The dandelion does not care what others see. It says, “One day, they’ll be making wishes upon me.”

B. Atkinson

It Looked Sweet

I tend to have fruit everyday. Actually I should re-state that. I eat apples almost always, with a mix of strawberries, rainier cherries and pineapple thrown into the meal plan when they are in season. I will admit that I am somewhat of an apple snob too. I really only like Jazz apples, and will eat others only when my son so nicely brings some home from the school lunches. Jazz apples have that tart but sweet taste and are the perfect amount of yummines, until you bite into a bad one. Have you had that happen? It looks perfect on the outside but there is this bruise that is waiting right under the surface, and you have just taken a huge bite right into it….yuck! It just takes the joy out of eating the apple. Even worse when it’s a strawberry or when you start cutting a pineapple up and it’s mush, gross!

Sadly we can be like my apples. We put on our happy faces, our put together pictures on Instagram, and we go throughout our days not letting on that we are not ok. Our skin looks good, our smiles are perfect but then if we are honest we know that there is a meltdown hiding right below the surface. I am a master at the “I got this”. and the “it’ll get done, even if I have to do it myself” sayings. I can keep up the pace for quite a while and then something small happens and the surface gets broken and I end up not ok. At that point all it takes is for someone to ask if I’m ok, or say something slightly off and I am a pile of tears. The imperfection shows through the skin and the blemish is seen.

I am a frustrated crier. Let me tell you, people around me don’t know what to do with me, when I am in a frustrated crying session. It’s like a dam breaking and the water that was held back rushes forth and takes out everything in its path. All that’s left is the destruction. A good friend of mine went through a frustrated cry with me recently. I had a hard time dealing with a situation I was going through and little things kept piling up, to the point that I broke one day. My friend was innocently in my path. She wasn’t even a part of the situation I was dealing with, but she gracefully listened to me as I fell apart. In a flash I was done, I collected myself and I was able to go on with my day. My friend was luckily no worse for wear. She remained calmed, let me cry and then allowed me to just be, to calm down, to see that life still goes on and that I will be ok again.


We all have something that lies just below the surface. For some it’s an addiction, for others it’s pain or hurt, the list can go on and on. The assumption is that we are ok because the imperfection isn’t seen at first glance. Like biting into a bad part of the apple, seeing others as bruise and broken isn’t fun, but realizing that the imperfection might not be all the way through helps us to see that there can still be good parts to both the apple and people. I wish so much that my go lucky puppy Charlie could see this. I came home today (actually this happens every day I come home from work) and since I was wearing my work clothes, Charlie started barking at me. I spoke kindly to her, I reached down to pet her, heck I even let her smell me, just to let her see it was me: mom. Charlie was not having it! A few minutes later though, when I had changed out of my work clothes, she was a different dog. She ran up to me, sniffed me, let me pet her and decided then and there I was a good person. It’s amazing what happens when the outer shell comes off. In Charlie’s eyes I was a very bad apple. I was there to take her soul, until I changed. Same person different look.

Did you know that some companies actually put a sort of film on the apples to make them look shinier and more appetizing? Did you know that eating an apple a day probably won’t keep the doctor away but it can help in getting rid of the crap in your life….literally. Apples are so good for us, the have fiber in the skin to help keep us regulated, they have natural sugars, and vitamins, they are also good for our hearts. These benefits are great, but one bad apple, one bad bite and the apple is thrown away no matter the benefits. What if instead we saw the bad, but chose to eat around it, to cut it out? We could do that with people too. I don’t know about you but I am far from perfect. I would hate knowing that someone decided not to get to know me or be around me because they saw my blemishes, my “bruises”, and yet I know I have done that to some people. See, not perfect. I will leave you with this saying I saw on Instagram. I wish I knew who said it but unfortunately it didn’t say. Until next time:

Butterflies cannot see their wings, but the rest of the world can. You. You are beautiful and while you may not see it, we can.

Wildflowers

Here in the town I live in we have a lot of sunshine. We also have random weather patterns where it is hot, the sun is shining and then it’s not. It is snowing and blowing. It can be quite annoying when trying to decide what to wear. These weather patterns have caused destruction, they have caused mayhem, and they have caused this girl to want to stay home under a blanket, but low and behold I step out into start the day.

On one such day, as I was driving to work and I started to notice the wildflowers in the fields. As I arrived at work these beautiful poppies had popped up almost overnight. They were these big beautiful orange glowers. They had overtaken the grassy area we have near our parking lot. The day started warm and sunny and by lunchtime the wind was blowing and rain was falling, and yet these poppies stood strong. The thing about these flowers is they are resilient while in the ground, once picked and taken from the environment they do not last very long at all. They would not make a good lasting flower in a vase. When you look at this flower it doesn’t care that it pops up near a parking lot or in a field. A seed was planted, it was nourish with nutrients in the soil, the sun warmed it up and the rain watered it. All it could do was grow. If the seed all of a sudden chose not to do what it naturally should do, it would pass away. Wildflowers grow where the seeds land. I have seen a flower thrive in a crack in a driveway. I have seen fields of wildflowers in the forest. I have cherished a handful of flowers given to me by one of my kids. Wildflowers in the simplest form can show us how to live.

Wildflowers come in all shapes, colors and strengths. They grow where they grow, some are resilient, while others last a day. When a field of wildflowers is found there is a rainbow of colors that are vibrant and pure. Even the flowers seen as weeds are beautiful. No matter the weather they grow and spread. Certain flowers are visited by the bees more, but they all benefit from the visits. If the flowers were people there would be no worries or cares seen or felt. The glowers are just there.

The worth of the flower is seen by the beholder and even more so by the creator. What if we were to become like the wildflowers. We grow where our seed was placed. Picture each morning you wake up and instead of thinking of the worries of the day you stretch and you soak in the moment of being awake. It’s like the flower turning its face to the sun to soak in all the warmth and strength of the rays. As you prepare for your day trusting that your needs will be met, that ultimately you are not in control, but you can trust that the one who created you is. The wildflowers never worry about when and where they will get the nutrients they need to survive, instead they grow and live, the bees pollinate, the sun provides its rays and the rain gives of its drops. How much more are we cherished by God as His loved ones, than the wildflowers that fade away? What if like the wildflowers we let our colors shine through? What if we grew and flourished no matter what our environment, or who we are around? Just like the wildflowers that grow in the fields around where I live, they have to survive the ever changing weather patterns. They have to be sturdy enough to survive. They grow in areas that can be harsh and rocky. Some have to grow next to trees that shade out the sun, while others are in a cluster of crops. The flowers did not get to choose where they sprouted, they did adapt and grow. How much more could we do in the same situations?

We can’t help the storms that pass over us, and sometimes consume us. We have to want to grow and flourish. Joy will come, and we will be able to turn our faces upwards. I was talking to a friend who found out that she soon she will have to take on being the caregiver for her momma who has dementia. This friend reminds me so much of the poppy’s in my work parking lot. She is bright and cheerful, and just the thought of her brings a smile to my face. She is struggling though, the storm she is in is taking a toll on her heart. She wants to be there for her sweet momma but she also needs nourishment for herself. The rain is great, but sunshine is needed. She is trusting in God though and knows she needs to bloom where she is planted. She is looking for and finding help for herself. She knows that even when she feels like she can’t grow anymore, God will provide the strength she needs. She is working on being a beautiful wildflower.

On those stormy days when I want to stay home covered in a blanket, yeah on those days I pray for strength and I decide to show up. I want the storm to pass, I want the cold to leave my bones (literally, why does it always have to be so cold 3/4 of the year?!?), I want someone else to take the burden. I also want to trust more, lean on God more, and know that when it comes to my life I really am not in control. When God looks at me He sees the wildflower, just as I see the wildflowers on my way into work. Though I know I am more precious than a flower, to know I am in God’s garden is all I need to keep blooming. How about you? Until next time:

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow or reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  So why worry about clothing?  Consider the  flowers of the field, how they grow: they neither toil or spin, and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.   Matthew 6:25-29

It’s All In The Name

It’s so interesting how many names are found in the Bible. Half of them I couldn’t even begin to try and pronounce. Some names are followed by a story that explains who the person is, while others are just mentioned and then seem to fade away into the text. Some names that are popular and come with great stories would be Moses, and Noah and even Esther. These people were far from excellent or special. They were average people doing everyday things that God chose to add to His story. In God’s great glory He decided that He would use people who were not perfect. They were tax collectors, people with speech impediments, and liars to unfold the story.

How wonderful it was that perfect people were not used in the Bible. It would make it very hard for me to follow or even use in my life. I have such a hard time with people who think better of themselves than they should, or who seem to have to let people know of the things they do. This is probably why I get so mad at myself when I do these things. Last week in my blog “Ooops I Did It Again!” I talked about how badly I wanted affirmation, I felt the need to prove myself. Not realizing that I already have a name in Christ: daughter

I absolutely love starting a conversation with “Hello Friend!” For some it makes them pause, while most others going forward with a smile that is a little bit brighter. It’s about naming the person as a friend. I figure even if they are not a friend right at the moment, by me saying what I did it opens up the possibility. Just the opposite can happen with a bad name , but if we are to live joyfully we don’t need to go there.

A name can say so much about who you are. It call tell of your background. It can tell of your heritage. It can tell of your occupation or if you are great (Caesar the Great). It can even let people know if you are a parent (Hey that’s Tyler’s mom!). But does the name you carry make you the person you are? Does it describe what’s inside your head? Heart? I am coming to a point in my life where all I want is for my name to bring a smile to someone’s face, for someone to think about me and have no drama attached to their thoughts. I want to know that I was a humble and peaceful person, but I also realize that drama tends to find its way into everyday life, and do I want to fall back to the one who alone can carry me, who makes me who I am: Christ.

How about you? What’s in your name? What is attached to it? Does it make you who you are? I hope that as you go through life you realize that it’s not “all in the name”. Until next time:

Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you

Dr. Seuss

Oops! I Did it Again

There are some pretty amazing women in my life.  I really have no reason to complain.  In all of God’s glory He knew that my head and my heart needed strong women to help me grow and become who I am.  This week I think I needed one of those strong women to knock me on the side of my head and tell me to “Cut it Out!”

I have this really bad habit of pushing myself, and trying to prove to people that I can do it.  I can take on anything that is in front of me and accomplish it.  I pride myself in thinking ahead, in trying to see what is next.  Am I ready?  Is the area around me ready?  Have I done all I can do?  And then there is this little voice in my head (and heart, actually) that whispers “will they notice?”  Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy what I am doing, whether at work, at home, and at play, and I don’t need the validation of the world, no it seems that the validation I crave is of those around me.   When it comes from the people I admire, then I know it means something right?

I can wholeheartedly say no!  Though it feels good to get an “atta girl” or a “ I respect you highly”, they end up still being words in my parched heart.  The women that have said these things to me, mean what they say, and I say them right back to them, but they move on to other things and I feel as if I have to prove myself all over again just to get that response again.  A couple of nights ago I was helping my doctor with an emergency surgery at work.   We worked in fluid motion, I knew my part and she knew hers.  As we were finishing up, I was thinking ahead as to what this patient would need for the following day and into the next few weeks to be comfortable after surgery, literally thinking five steps ahead.  The doctor had lied down to rest (since the emergency was in the middle of the night), and I was finishing up the bill, so that I could head home.  I was tired of course, but the next morning the first thing I talked to my hubby about was how the surgery went, to say the patient was doing well, and how I did well at thinking ahead and man I hope the doctor approves.  “What?!? Really?!?”  I cringe as I write this out.  I needed validation that badly?  

Yeah, I think I really did.  Ya all know that I am a Christian and I know that my worth is found in the fact that I am a child of God.  It is hard sometimes to remember that though, when it is so much easier to get instant validation and praise from people around you, even better when it is from people you admire and respect.  Once again cringe as I write that.   The one person I should admire and respect above all others is the one that I tend to look to last for validation and praise.  I know that comes from a selfish desire to be seen, even when I say I don’t want to be seen.  Colossians 3: 23 says: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men”.  

It’s a strange and tiring thing when you want to elevate yourself, even just a little, and try to become the center of the world you have created.  It is so much easier to take the gifts you have been given, ask God’s blessings on them so that they may be used to help others.  Validation is great but it is like those dandelion poofs that once placed in the wind quickly blow away.  The praise feels good in the moment, but then once it’s said and gone, the thrill of the chase begins.  My lovely husband thankfully stepped in and reminded me that my worth doesn’t come from getting praised.  My worth comes from knowing that I am who I am.  I am loved no matter what, and I know that I don’t have to prove myself to anyone.  The cliché saying is true:  My worth comes from knowing I am loved and a child of God.

When I sit back and slow down, I realize that the times when I feel I need to be “seen and heard” by the people around me, those are during times when I am the busiest.  They are found in the times when I haven’t made time for myself.  I haven’t made time to read my Bible, to pray, to just sit and listen.  I start my weeks off in a sprint fashion just to make it to the end of the week exhausted, telling myself I have accomplished so much.  I did my job well, I exercised, I studied, I mommy-ed well, I was there for my husband, on and on.  Nowhere in there did I rest well, pray more, or talk to God first.   I think, no I know if I would have put God first and all of the other things after I would have a peace, I would have done all of the things I do, not for myself or others but for Christ.   So I will try this week, to put God first, me second, and I will focus on what is ahead and not what is going on around me.  Until next time:

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  So run to win!  All athletes are disciplined in their training.  They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.  So I run with purpose in every step.  I am not just shadowboxing.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.    Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT

What’s In A Meeting?

Meetings come in all different sizes, shapes and topics, and names. Gatherings, lunch dates, parties, are all meetings, and they are cause different reactions, and responses. My favorites of course are the ones that involve friends and family.

Yesterday was a gathering of great minds. I actually felt as though I was the third wheel but not. I had lunch with two amazing ladies that have lived good lives but not always easy. They had knowledge and wisdom that surpassed my mind, and I loved to hear them talk, and remember back when they were younger momma’s. We ate lunch together, we laughed together and then we promised to meet up in a few weeks to do it all over again.

Other meetings I have been in have been informational, a place for me to learn new skills, practice those skills snd then get tested on them so that I can do more for the patients I deal with. These meetings are not always very fun, and there have been a few times when my family took pictures of me asleep due to the videos I have watched.

When I first started in the vet field, my boss would do evaluation meetings once a year. These meetings were epic, usually they included lunch and lasted about an hour, and have had so many accounts of people leaving their evals in tears. Sadly the meetings would be a years worth of good and bad things you did, and would have the bad be discussed more than the good. After going through these types of meetings for years, it’s hard to get out of your head that all work meetings are not bad.

My good friend noticed the stress I was allowing to press on me before a work meeting I had. She brought it up to me and simply stated, you know this meeting is a meeting with friends, yes you may be the employee but you are a friend first. I knew the meeting would have constructive criticism, but I also knew it would be given to me in a caring way. The stress felt was self inflicted. I have this inate drive to be the best I can be, and to not mess up. I don’t like when I get overwhelmed, and then to have to give criticism to someone else means possible conflict, no thanks! The other issue is the fact that I don’t feel like I have a right to complain, I mean others have done what I am doing and have done it just fine, why can’t I? Well of course, so much of this is based on the fact I am comparing myself to someone else. I am also comparing this work meeting with the only example of a week meeting that was bad. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. The people in my current work meeting I respect highly, and I know they only want the best for me as well as the business. That in itself is the difference.

So then what to do going forward? Meetings are always going to happen. Enjoy where you can, and chose to not allow the bad to create future stress. My work meeting went well. We talked about areas that need improvement. We talked about areas that are in need of streamlining, but mostly we came together with the same purpose of being better, and trying to help others be better too. I hope that each time a meeting like this happens that I will start to replace the memories of the past work meetings with the outcomes of these present meetings. Until next time:

“Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:10‬ ‭

Happy Birth…I Mean Mother’s Day

This weekend was a doozy.

It all started about three weeks ago when I had my birthday. It’s right about that time that my son starts to plan his birthday, thus pushing my birthday out of his brain entirely. I totally get it though, he is gonna be in the double digits, he can actually have friends over this year and he just got a taste of the fun of Escape Rooms. We as a family try and do something as a family on Sundays. The activity could be as simple as a board game or a little more involved like going somewhere fun. I had been told by a friend of mine that the escape rooms are fun , so we decided to try one out. A half hour later after the pirates codes were solved and the treasure found the kids were hooked. Tyler knew that day what he wanted to do for his birthday. We booked the zombie room, he made invitations up, gave them out and we waited until this weekend.

I am not one for zombies or jump scares for that matter and when we inquired about the zombie room we were told both of those are involved, so being the ever loving wife I volunteered to sit in the lobby while the hubby, our son and his three friends did the room. I figured there had to be at least one adult to be there if someone got scared enough in the room and needed to have a break. The plan was set, the friends all met us at the escape room address, the parents left……and we waited. It was two hours after when we heard back from the people than organize the rooms. Luckily we hadn’t paid yet, but the boys were disappointed. No escape room happened, but luckily we were saved by laser tag! This time I just volunteered to sit and wait while the hubby and the boys went and shot at at each other. I figured it was my gift to myself since it was also Mother’s Day weekend😉😉

Which brings me to this wonderful holiday celebrating us mommas. I don’t care what what kind of momma you are called just as long as you love your kids, and only want the best for them. I have wonderful friends who are pet moms, aunts who step in as mommas, grandmas who do the same. Single mommas, tired mommas, whatever your role, enjoy your day. I usually spend my momma’s day, celebrating my youngest child. Not really intentional it just works out to have a birthday party on the weekend rather than week day. This momma’s day was no different other than having extra dark circles under the eyes from having 3 extra kids in the house, OVERNIGHT. Yep, we thought, what the heck, let’s plan an escape room party, then feed pizza a cake, while also keeping them overnight. If I liked wine I would be drinking it still. Maybe it was a blessing that the zombie escape room fell through. Laser tag will make kids tired right?

Cake, more cake, pizza, candy and Gatorade (gotta have something slightly healthy right?) made Tyler’s night. We rented a movie for the boys and with the sugar high decreasing we did finally get some rest, though I did have an extra helping of Spark to get me through the rest of Sunday. Man though what a weekend, it was a doozy! We learned that having plans is great, but being flexible because a part of the plan fell through is important. We learned that 4 boys playing together is nuts, there are disagreements to be sorted out, and food to be served, just so you can send them right back outside to play. We learned that our son has a weird mean side where he asked us to mix the skittles and m’n’ms in the same bowl for his party.

I love being a mom, even with all of the challenges that come with it. I love that I can share my day with my son’s day, and that he gets to have the attention on him. I pray over my kids daily and sometimes hourly. I have some things about my kids that make me want to pull out my hair, and I love I have prayer warriors that pray with me about those things. I miss that my girls don’t snuggle with me any more and I cherish the times my son will. I hope that my kids know how much they are loved, even if there are blow up moments. I hope this Mother’s Day you celebrated it with your momma or a woman that was a momma figure in your life. Until next time:

To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.”

Maya Angelou

Friendships

Quality over quantity

When you look in the dictionary the definition of friendship is this: It is a state of being friends: friendly relation, or attachment, to a person, or between persons; affection arising from mutual esteem and good will. This sounds so stagnant, unliving, flat. Who would want to have a friendship if it really was based on the definition? Luckily friendships are living and breathing, they have an ebb and flow. They are based on the stupid stuff you did last summer, the fun trip you took to the fair, the impromptu lunch date. Some friendships are there for a specific season and others are there for a lifetime. Friendships start to take on a living form like breathing in and out. To have that best friend that we can relay on for anything is just as important as having a group of best friends that do most everything together. What makes friendships last is the quality of the relationship. I had been talking to a client (who is also a good friend) today about the fact that with age our friend groups seems to stop growing in numbers but instead start growing in importance. We noticed that we may not see our friends all of the time but when we do see them the amount of time spent with them seems longer. What hit me when we talked about this was the fact that I had gone to this friend’s house to help her dog with some pain issues, which maybe took me 15 minutes to do, the other 30-45minutes was spent talking with this wonderful lady. Which then made me think of this other friendship that I have, this is how it has been a part of my life:

A few years back (about 38 years to be exact) there was these two little girls. They both went to the same school but different kindergarten classrooms. They played with each other on the playground and sat near each other at storytime. They were friends. Fast forward a couple of years, these same two girls, not always in the same classes in school but will still find each other on the playground to play and introduce each other to some other kids that would become part of their friend group. These two girls did elementary school together, middle school and high school. They had friends come and go from their friend group, but they made sure to always be friends. Their friendship worked so well because they needed each other. One was outgoing, beautiful inside and out, energetic and willing to try new things. The other was equally beautiful inside and out, but was much more reserved, relied on her outgoing friend to make friends and was more than willing to be the behind the scenes type of person. When high school finished they went their separate ways for college but still stayed in touch. Each girl visited the other in their respective colleges and when it was finally time to settle down in a town though they were far apart from each other, they would visit and have those type of phone calls that would last for hours. The quality of this friendship was so good and strong, that the two ended up living in the same town, living like sisters, blessed with the fact that their kids call them aunts. It’s a lifetime friendship.

Now I cannot talk about friendships without bringing my sister into the discussion. I realize there are those out in the world that have never had the privilege of having a relationship so strong that to live without it would be almost impossible. So other than my husband who is my best friend and God who is my only friend I can trust 100%, my sister is the one person that knows everything about me. To be honest I think she even knows when I burp funny. She and I are different in so many ways that in the end that is what makes us get along so well. Her opinion matters to me, but I love to get her riled. When we both want to do the same thing, I find it is my ultimate duty to make sure she knows that it is a competition and there will be trash talk happening. When I had a very hard time at work, I knew that she would talk me through it. I love that my oldest daughter is a mini version of my sister. I love it more that my sister says my middle child is a mini version of me. My sister and I have not lived in the same state in over 20 years but we talk to each other weekly. It’s a lifetime friendship.

The friendships that can stand the test of time are the best for sure but there are also those friendships that see you through a season in your life. Once that season is over, the person quietly steps back but is still a friend, moves to the category of lifetime friendship, or fades to the background because of changing circumstances. These are not bad friendships, to be honest they are some of the best kinds because you learn and grow from these friendships in ways you might not realize with a friendship that has been ongoing for years. When my husband and I were in our first years of parenthood, we worked opposite shifts so that the kids could have one of us at home with them, but there were times that our schedules would overlap and we would have to have someone babysit. We were blessed with being introduced to a lady we to this day still call Grandma Judy. She took our kids whenever we needed her to and she would take them even when we didn’t. She and her husband loved our kids like their own grandkids. In our minds they were family. As our kids grew older they were able to be at home by themselves more so Grandma Judy started to move out of the picture more, but not out of our hearts. Today we don’t see Grandma Judy much, but the friendship we have with her and her husband is still strong. She was there for us during a season in our lives when we really needed her, we were blessed by her and her husband. She is a lifetime friend.

What kind of friend are you to the people around you? To that end I ask myself what kind of friend am I to those who I know? Making a friendship work and last a long time takes work, love, and dedication to each other. We were not made to be alone in this world. We were made for relationships. We were made for community. Even the most introverted person has his/her “people” that make up the tribe. Remember we are who we hang out with so we might as well make it count. Until next time her is a song that has been special to me and my lifelong friends for so many years:

No! Not Right Now

Ok I get when it comes to intermittent fasting there are times when you don’t eat, obviously.  When I was looking through the schedule my BodyFast App had given it said no eating Sunday morning.  Do you know how hard it is to not have your stomach growl while you are sitting in church, a relatively quiet place?  Add on top of it all the fact that your daughter keeps looking at you each time your stomach growls, and your friend who wanted to try out your church is sitting on the other side of you.  I will admit that even the water I kept trying to drink as much as I could didn’t help the situation, it just made me have to go to the bathroom more.  There was no ignoring this problem I was having. 

A decision was made at that point, I would need to either eat before the church service next week or acknowledge that my stomach was gonna do what it was gonna do and I would apologize to the people around me later.  Luckily my friend, whether she was being gracious or not, said she couldn’t hear the roar that was coming from me.  My daughter, well she just stated it wasn’t her problem and maybe next time I should eat.  I think I like my friend more than my daughter right now😆.    I chose to fast because of all the good that comes from it, the autophagy, the ketosis, the elevated energy levels, and most of the time I can work through the hunger, it’s when it is a quiet setting that I wish I was a glutton and had stuffed myself full of food.

Yesterday I sat in my living room with most of my family around me, I love the feeling I get from just being near to them.  I am distracted often, and I could be done quicker with my tasks if I just moved from my rocking chair to the cushy chair in my room but then I wouldn’t get to see the Charlie dog sleeping, the hubby and son on the couch interacting with each other, or the daughter slightly smile as she reads a tweet from a person she is following.  These are small things, but since I am gone a lot during the week, they turn into big things for me.  It is a decision that is good for my soul. 

Life is back to normal today.  I have a day full of appointments, I have texts/phone calls to answer and clients to talk to.  When I decided to go into this field, I knew it would be exhausting but fulfilling, that it would push me to my limits, just to help me grow.  The decision was a good one, and it has benefited both me and my family, but because of this same decision I also agreed to less time with my loved ones, which is painful at times.  A yes to one decision, means a no to another.  Just like with intermitted fasting, I have discomforts that must be dealt with, even when I am becoming a stronger person and my family is taken care of.  While I was sitting at church trying to quiet my stomach, I was told about Christ, and how He is not just my redeemer later when I pass on, but He is my redeemer in the present.  He shows up, He is a strong and mighty tower. 

Jesus was a man of decisions.  He was not one who was wishy, washy.  A lot of what he did ruffled feathers and made people mad, but he would do them anyways.  He also found time to enjoy the people and things around him. Life was not easy, but he celebrated with people at the dinner table, he went to social events, he cried with people and he made time to be by himself.  He was a powerful, but humble person.  Oh to be like Him, I mess up a lot, and I don’t claim to be perfect.  I make decisions every day to be better with my health, with my family, with my faith, at my job.  Every day I fail, but everyday there is something I find to be thankful for and to stand for.  My friend needed to know what church I went to, she didn’t need me to be there for her to go (actually she was there before my family and I got there) but it helped her to be more comfortable.  My family doesn’t need to have me at the house all of the time, but it’s good when I am home, my job can definitely function without me, but I am so glad that they choose to have me.  So many times, I make a decision to follow through with it and then look back and think about the many ways it could have gone wrong.  I act and then process.  I have a friend who made a decision that would be so good for her, but because of the environment she is in, decided to hold back on the idea and just try and get by.  When the joy of the moment, of the outcome is noticed and felt, the road may be hard, but the adventure is worth it.  Joy is present in all decisions; it may not be noticed.  Joy is the strength that is felt when life is hard but worth it.  Joy is what is built when a decision is made, and a step is made in the right direction.  When you don’t make a choice, the choice has been made without you.    Until next time:

It is usual that little streams put their mouths into big rivers. Most rivers can also be traced to the big sea. The fact that you start with a small choice does not mean you will be on that narrow road forever.”

Israelmore Ayivor

The Beauty of Life

You know the saying: “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone?” 

As I am sitting here writing my midweek post, I am sitting in the middle of my living room, my buddy Jorj is laying on the ottoman in front of me, my hubby is doing his homework, my girls are on their respective electronic devices, my son is at church and my not so little puppy Charlie is going around to each one of us trying to figure out who is going to play/snuggle with her.  Right now my house is calm and happy.  This is not the norm (at least the calm part).  We are usually pretty happy or at least content with the vibe of the household.  It’s amazing to me how fast these moments go, as you are in them you don’t realize that they will be gone so quickly though.  It’s times like these where it’s nice to sit back rock my rocking chair and enjoy the joy that comes from this time.

I feel like I am being a bit melancholy, these last two weeks have been a bit tiring and overwhelming.  But in the times when I felt I needed something to change my course of thought, I get a phone call from a friend, a hug, or as I wrote about in last weeks blog “A Hug and a Toy” a car thrown at my head (no I don’t know the strongest man in the world, just a little sprite of a boy who wanted to have fun with me).  Last night I got to see a very special friend.  This lady was there for me when my family was growing.  She stepped in, barely knowing me and decided to love me, my hubby and my kids from babyhood to the present.  The best part about this gal is that her love knows no bounds, and her family is the same way.  Last night I got to see her because of a very sad situation, and once again Judy took control in a very gentle way and allowed her niece to cry on her shoulder, and when she could no longer be in the place she was in Judy helped her up, and led her into her home.   Her niece had to say goodbye to a friend that got her through the thick and thin of life with sweet snuggles and gentle kisses.  As we were leaving all she could say was how she would never see her friend again.  I not only cried with her as a friend, I cried knowing the feeling of permanent loss.

Then I got to thinking about the saying I started this post out with.  Yes we may not know what have until it’s gone, but once the grief starts to lessen, even slightly the memories will start to surface.  I know with my friend that she and her pet went on adventures.  He was there while she worked.  There will be joy found in her heart once the pain weakens.  It’s time like this when I am reminded that I take a lot of things for granted.  Everyday there is something or someone who could bring a smile to my face, if I would stop to really see what is around me.  My sister is on vacation this week, and what does she do?  She sends me a picture of what she is seeing as she sits and looks out her window.  That brings me such joy in knowing that she is enjoying herself in such beauty.  Every morning when I let our puppy Charlie out of her crate, I have about 1.5 milliseconds to hop back into my bed and get covered before she is on the bed doing everything in her power to lick us and say good morning.  My daughter love to play this horse computer game and when I got home last night the first thing she did was shove the headset into my hands so that I could listen to what the rider of her horse does every time she jumps (the rider throws her arms out and yells “Wheeeeeeeee!!!”).  Just in case you have been following me, this is the same daughter who spends majority of her day when she is home in her room.  We barely see her.  I will take what she gives me 😁

When life is overwhelming, I have a choice to let it take over or let joy come out.  The most I can tell you is this, we will always have hard times, we will always have trials, and times of being in over our heads and overwhelmed.  I have been with a lot of people over the years who have had to say goodbye to their beloved pets, and the main takeaway I get from each and every one of those times is that they were so thankful that they got to share their life with their pet.  I love hearing the stories they tell, and I hope that by telling their stories that they can see that there was joy.  My house is still quiet.  The people in my house have changed their positions (the animals are still where they were when I started), but I am still enjoying the moment.  I am enjoying being interrupted by my kids or my husband because I know that I will miss this when it is gone.  I love that when someone gets home Charlie does everything in her power to whip her face with her own tail because of how excited she is to see the person.  I love the joy in the moment even if I get the weird “oh great, I get to do the dishes” look from my son.   I would love to bottle up these moments, these interruptions, these sad but joyful times.  There isn’t really any way to fully preserve them, and so I think we will always deal with not knowing what we have until it’s gone.  I know that is how life is, but we can choose to coat the memories that we do keep with a healthy amount of joy, because in doing that we will be reminding ourselves that joy comes and with it comes the ability to keep on living.  Until next time:

And joy comes with the morning. But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. ( Proverbs 4:18) Joy comes in the morning. It doesn’t mean tomorrow. It’s not a formula that promises that you’ll feel happy at sunrise. It’s a promise that will come true when God’s sunrise breaks.

How Do They do It?

They always seem so content

My bestie and I have known each other for years. We practically share the same birthday, I love her like a sister and I know it’s because we are different but we accept each other and love each other besides our differences. Last night we were able to get together to celebrate another year spent on this earth. This past year has had lots of challenges as well as accomplishments. So many different losses, but at the same time there have been times of joy that help to cover some of the pain of those losses. So as we, waited for my wonderful hubby to light the combined amount of candles on a cake just barely big enough to hold the candles, we laughed, talked and finished eating one of our favorite dinners.

One of the best things I noticed about last night was the excitement my girls had in showing Aunt Sunni their rooms, and then talking to her about what they are most interested in. As the night progressed we shared our gifts for each other and some tears about family and life in general. One thing that I notice every time I am around Sunni is the fact that whatever seems to be going on in her life, good or bad, she is present, she is still content. There is a quote I came across the other day that says:

The most convincing sign that someone is truly living their best life, is their lack of desire to show the world that they’re living their best life. Your best life won’t seek validation

Steven Bartlett

I had a discussion a few days ago with my eldest daughter about this idea. We were talking about the fact that the world loves to label things, people whatever. People then take these labels and create a cause about them, or live by the label, or in rare occasions will take the label and just leave it there. When people choose to leave the labels where they are at and live the life they want to live, you will find content people. It’s hard to do, but when you choose not to worry about what people think about you or what they say about you, you can get yourself out of your self imposed prison. There are so many labels that can be given to me based on my religion, my race, my profession, my thoughts, really anything. I could be labeled a good technician but a bad mom because I work too much. I could be labeled a weirdo because of my all out love of cheesecake, flamingos and my dog, and I probably am, but I could also let this knowledge hold me back from living my best life.

People want to label themselves as a certain type of person, but will get upset when someone else puts a label on them. When we choose to live our lives to the best of our abilities while also finding the joy in everyday life, we rise above the world. We find contentment in what we are doing, and the draw to have to show it off to the world diminishes. I love that my girl Sunni is a strong, warm and loving momma to her two amazing girls. I love also that she can cry without apologizing, that she can stand firm in her decisions and that when she is with someone, she is present with that someone. She doesn’t have a perfect life and I know she has her struggles but, right now this is her best life. She shows up and is present, in whatever she does

What if we as a people decided that the world doesn’t need to see everything little thing that happens in our lives? What if we said, I am here, I am present without having to take the phone out to document it? Take your pictures, share your adventures, but don’t do it to have someone click the “like” button. I sometimes envy those who have chosen to stay off of social media. They don’t have the draw to post everything they do. At the heart of all this is this: Are you the master of your own universe and need to have people validate you simply because it makes you feel better, more in control? What if instead you just did life, knowing that there is a God who is in control that has already validated your life even before you did the stuff you did? There is joy in that. There is hope in that, there is peace and rest in that. I know that even if I did the biggest screw up ever and it landed on all of my friend’s Facebook pages, that that event doesn’t change who I am in God’s eyes. I have found that the most content people don’t have perfect lives, they have had major struggles, but they also believe in something bigger than themselves. They know when to show love, mercy, grace. They don’t think themselves better than anyone else. There is not a desire to always look and act perfect. That is the best life, and that sounds like the place I want to be. Until next time, I will leave you with a small speech from Robert Duvall in “Second Hand Lions”

Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good. That honor, courage and virtues mean everything. That power and money, money and power mean nothing; that Good always triumphs over Evil; and I want you to remember this: That Love, true Love never dies. Doesn’t matter if any of this is true or not. You see a man should believe in these things because these are the things worth believing in.

Robert Duvall

A Hug and a Toy

Today was going to be a long day. We ad a full schedule and our doctor had to leave early for the day, so some of the appointments were rescheduled and others were given to me to care for. The last few days from Friday have been a bit rough. Within a 4 day period we as a hospital family looked forward to one of our co-workers getting through a complicated surgery to finding out she passed from complications. We as a hospital family mourned together in our separate homes and places where we were, and looked forward a few days to see where certain jobs needed to be taken care of.

Do you ever get to a point where you just stay busy so that you don’t puddle up and cry? The first few days were that way at least for me. I got the jobs done that were my responsibility to do but would then make sure I was busy with my family or some other such thing. Yesterday though it was good to cry. I had to give some bad news to a few clients and afterwards I just sat, and cried. Then I got to see a friend. This person radiates happiness and joy. I could see tears and weariness in her eyes though. She has been her momma’s sole caregiver for quite a while and she was just weary, and so we hugged. It was a rib breaking hug, and then we hugged again, and made plans to have lunch. Then I made her wait so that she could get a hug from the hug master, my co-worker and friend Mary. The power and the healing force of a hug and then cleansing power of tears is amazing.

I then had another close friend come by. I had to give her some guarded news about her dog. This did not stop the hugs, nor did it stop her super cute, mischievous son from pelting a toy at me, forgive me dear child for not paying attention to you or playing with you😜. I love you with my heart. It is not coincidence that these two ladies came into my day yesterday.

God places people in our lives because He knows exactly what we need. He knows I am hard headed, that I get tunnel vision, that I am loyal, but when I break, I a break hard, just to “buck up” and move forward because things need to get done. I don’t usually ask for help, but feel needed when I can help someone else. I didn’t know I needed to see these two ladies until I saw them, and of course my little toy throwing buddy. I know that the hugs helped both parties, I know if the toy made contact with its target it would have definitely gotten me out of my slump.

In all of this, it warms my soul that joy still abounds. There was an article written about my co-worker who had passed. She radiated joy, she knew who she was, and she did life. She had a huge disability that caused her pain all of the time, that didn’t stop her. She did life, she did adventures and she loved big. She was inquisitive, and we all had to try and navigate her engineering brain. Animals, dogs mainly, were her life. They brought her joy and a purpose. She will be missed. There is a huge hole left where a small (no seriously she was like 4’9”) lady once stood.

With her passing, it makes me think again what it is that brings me happiness, but also what brings out my joy. I am happy with cheesecake and working out. What brings out joy is my God, my family, and my friends. What helps me spread joy is when I can just be with people. When I can cry with people but also hug them, laugh with them, be with them. When I can pet my animals, when I can sit in the sun, and read my book. When I can be silly, and do new adventures. I hope you have joy, I hope that you can find joy in the simple, I hope there are hugs in your future, but I would try to steer clear of little boys chucking toys at your head. Until next time:

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning Psalms 30:5

It’s That Time Again

Do I feel any wiser?

Probably not, in two days I get to be a year older. Ok so in actuality I have been already working on that year, I just get to celebrate making it happen in two days. I must say I am very grateful that I made it this far. Being alive is something we as a whole may take for granted a little too often. I fully believe that worrying about when I will be with the Lord is not really worth my time since only God knows the numbers of my days. What I can do in this very special TWO DAYS BEFORE MY BIRTHDAY BLOG is tell you what I know to be true. So I hope you enjoy my extensive list of what I know is true:

  1. A birthday is important and should be celebrated, even if it’s just you or you have a car parade that is miles long. You made it this far, celebrate it!
  2. It is such a joyous occasion when the puppy is let out of her crate in the morning and does a flying leap onto your bed just to say “Hi!”
  3. Apples (Jazz preferable) cut up with peanut butter and sunflower seeds is one of the best parts of my lunch
  4. When you get a sunburn, make sure that it’s a weird shape so that when someone asks what you were doing you can give them a fun story.
  5. Sitting next to your son at church, realizing that the faint smell you are smelling might be the jacket he is wearing, is somewhat of a distraction. The jacket is getting washed!
  6. Jelly beans that are hidden in your bathroom cupboards taste so much better when you think you are the only one that knows where they are hidden
  7. Watching your daughter get excited about the birthday gift she is getting ready for her bestie is pure joy
  8. Doing a facetime call with your sister on her birthday just so you can walk her through how to use the gift you got her is really fun
  9. Sometimes pretending all is ok for a short time is beneficial, though hard to do
  10. Once a mom, always a mom
  11. Celebrating with one client, while silently crying along with a different client is one of the hardest jobs to do in the vet field.
  12. Self care is important, but is essential when all that you have to give is gone. It might take a loved one to gently tell you to go and do you for a bit.
  13. White dogs + grass equals quite a mess
  14. The first day of warmer weather and a slight breeze is extravagant, remembering to put sunscreen on is a plus
  15. White dogs + sun = a happy dog with a slight sunburn on her nose
  16. When you become a runner there is something inside of you that cheers on the random runner you see while driving to work, that cheering also encourages you to make time for a run
  17. There is a bit of jealously when you are in you gigantic work rig and your co-worker flies right by you on his motorcycle.
  18. Even if it’s a little cooler in the morning, if you have the chance ride your motorcycle!
  19. When your teen asks you to go on a bike ride, you go on that bike ride. If anything you can challenge her to a race and leave her in the dust (for about 2.5 seconds anyways😂)
  20. If your kid put forth the effort and did the work, you do the firepit and surprise them with smores
  21. When fighting over who is going to make the cookies, make sure that the person who one doesn’t see you when you sneak some cookie dough into your mouth
  22. Be the kind of friend, that if your friend is having to do something hard and you can share some of their load, you do
  23. Scratch the belly or head of the pet that offers that part to you, they love you and will take your love any way they can get it.
  24. Just because your pet has mastered the “puppy dog” look doesn’t mean he needs to have one more dog treat….especially if the last one counted as number 15
  25. No matter how many times your teen complains about the notifications going off on their phone, when you suggest turning it off, they will look at your like you just killed their best friend.
  26. Monkey see, monkey do. When one dog starts barking at the noise your hubby made, the other one will too, no matter how close they are to your ear.
  27. Cuties are a thing. The little oranges that peel so well, if you get the normal oranges, they do not get touched. Cuties on the other hand will be gone right as they are put in the bowl.
  28. When someone (me) stubs their toe, or accidently kicks a step don’t expect that I can talk right away to tell you what happened. Let me cry, curse, jump around first, then I will tell you I need ice
  29. New shoes, plus new sunburn on top of your foot DO NOT MIX
  30. I am feeling adventurous this week, I think I will start to teach my teenager how to drive, with a stick shift car
  31. When your son wants to cuddle, you cuddle, just not when you are driving, if he asks then, please wait until you get where you are going
  32. There are two types of dogs in my house, the puppy that will plop down on you and drop kick your ribs to get comfy, and then there is Jorj, staring deep into my soul, waiting for my to fill his toy with treats
  33. It doesn’t matter how long the cat has been in the kid’s room, when she comes out, she is in charge and she will claw slap you if you do not agree, don’t believe me? Ask Charlie the pup
  34. On that note, when the cat does come out, drop what you are doing, catch her and clip those nails. If that is what saves the puppy’s life then you must do it
  35. Just because you have done the job before doesn’t mean you should do the job now, things have changed and so have you
  36. Holding hands with your hubby is so healing
  37. Joy comes from knowing you are not fighting this battle alone.
  38. Sometimes when the only energy you have left is the energy to watch Instagram Reels after work, that is what you do.
  39. One of the greatest feelings is knowing you have the ability to help someone move forward and you act on that feeling
  40. April showers would be great right now, so we can enjoy May flowers. Though it does put a damper on my times I can ride my bike
  41. Did you know that when you remain calm, even in stressful situations, it helps those around you stay calm too? Once the situation is taken care of or fixed, then let the tears fall
  42. What I know for sure, this list is almost done, you are doing great!
  43. You know you have done good so far raising your kids when they stop arguing and comfort you when you get really bad news
  44. Being a year older is great, it means you can take what you have learned this past year and improve upon it and grow and thrive even more in the year to come

I always love doing these lists. Especially when it’s around my birthday. It helps me to put things into perspective. Tunnel vision is a real thing for me just read my blog Tunnel Vision . When I can sit down and list out what I know for sure (in my life) I tend to find a piece of my joy that might have gone missing. I hope you enjoyed my list, but do you have a list that could be made of things you know for sure? I would love to hear what some of those items would be. Please share in the comments section. Until next time:

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t change your individual spirit according to the latest style. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.

Change Matters

Since when did change become a bad word?

We all know those types of people.  They are the ones that are the movers and the shakers, but they also don’t do well when the schedules get changed.  They are the ones that when a change has to happen you let them know about it 3 months in advance and in triplicate form.  When the day comes that the change is to happen you make sure they have had breakfast and a good night sleep so that they can face the challenge of the day.  Albeit the change can be as simple as dropping the car off at the shop and having this person pick you up, but hey it’s still a change. 

Earlier this morning this type of change happened to my poor daughter.  She was trying to play one of her computer games but overnight there was an update with the computer and the game was logged out.  Normally this isn’t a big deal, except she didn’t remember the password and the one person who could help with this had already gone to work and wouldn’t be able to help until he got home.  Now my daughter deals a little bit with anxiety so I could tell this was getting her a little worked up so instead of feeding into it, there was a change of subject, which seemed to help her thankfully.  Que the dogs.  They are a great distraction.  I will make this point right here, dogs are amazing, if you didn’t know that already.

I deal a bit with anxiety as well and change for me is not easy.  I would be the person that goes and lets off steam in the form of tears, and then turns around and gets things done.  I have taken on the mantra of “one step at a time” or just like in the movie “What about Bob?” baby steps, one baby step at a time.   This doesn’t mean that it’s easy though.  Lately (and I mean that in the last year) work has been busy, this is not new, but then adding in training new people, soccer practice for two of the kids, family time and getting my studying done, any changes really should get to me in triplicate form and maybe even a phone call the day of😂.  I am not complaining here, just stating the facts….ma’am. 

So why is change seen as a bad word?  When change happens the old must end.  There is finality with change.  This doesn’t mean what is causing the change is bad, just that in order for it to start something, something else has to end.  I love intermitted fasting.  I love what it does to help my body be healthier.  I do not like that fact that I need to not eat at times.  Each week I get a new schedule, so there is a constant change in my eating habits.  The gain I get far outweighs the cost I must spend.  I must focus on not getting “hangry” around people when I have fasted for more than 12hrs.  When I do get to eat, I can eat what I want but I have learned what foods make my body function better, so I chose to stick with those foods.  Change is fun though, I love breaking people’s assumptions that I will be doing something a certain way and then going a completely different direction (this backfired on me once when I told my daughter we would be going on a walk and then halfway through decided a jog/run would be better, she did not like me that day, but it was fun😁).

I love to workout.  I am an amateur at best and that is exactly where I want to be.  If you read my last blog it explains why Amateur, Yes!.   I love to challenge myself and I love to get into competition with well mainly my sister, but there have been others who have pushed me as well.   I get new workouts each week, and love seeing the changes that my body is going through because of the routines I do.  Mainly though, it’s the constant change each week.  The constant excitement of seeing what new exercises I am given each Monday.  I will say, ballet is NOT my strong suit, nor is a dancing routine but  I still put forth the effort.

Spring is trying to come to our area.  I can see the hope in the trees as they start to bud out.  I can see it as the grass starts to wake up and the deer decide to once again stand in the middle of the road.  Change is beautiful.   I also know that our climate loves to throw us curveballs, which is why most amateur farmers will grow they can inside before putting their crops in the ground, since the rule of thumb is don’t plant before Memorial Day, freeze and frost will get you every time.  Change brings beauty, change brings breakdowns that may need to happen, change could mean a new start.  Your outlook on the word change will affect how you deal with what comes at you.  So how will you deal with the changes that come your way today?  Until next time:

One reason people resist change is that they focus on what they have to give up, rather than what they have to gain

Rick Goodwin

Amateur? Yes!

My daughter has always had an eye for drawing and taking pictures.  She takes the time to really do it just the way she likes, sometimes she is spending hours on a project just to get it to a point in which she changes it later because she has a different perspective when she comes back to it.  Artists are just that way, but when I ask her to share her masterpieces she doesn’t like to because they are “just not right”.  My dad is this same way.  He is a perfectionist and is shows in his woodworking abilities.   He has made so many pieces of furniture over the years, and they are all so beautiful, but one of the first lines that will come out of his mouth is to underhand his handiwork.  When Tim and I got married, I asked dad to make us a hope chest.  It was a simple design in which all I wanted was for it to be lined with cedar.  The outside could be in whatever wood he wanted.  I can’t tell you the name of the wood chosen, but I can tell you it is a beautiful piece and when I put the special oil on it the red really shines through.  Dad seems to always say something about the fact that it hasn’t fallen apart yet.

I notice this in myself too, when someone pays me a complement, or tells me that I am doing a good job.  Instead of saying “thank you” I downplay what they have said to me.  Not only does this take away their complement but it also causes them to think that since I didn’t take them seriously this time that next time, they just won’t say it.  I have been working on this over the years, practicing not automatically downplaying my abilities but also validating what the person said by saying “thank you” to the person.

I am in love with the process of doing things.  I am not in love with being the center of attention, or even getting attention at all, but I do need to be seen.  I used to think I would be ok if I was just the “behind the scenes” girl, but after doing that for such a long time I started to realize that I actually like it when someone notices that I have creativity too.  The problem of getting noticed is that people realize they like what you do and want more of it.  You can’t stay an “amateur” when people notice your skills.    In the book I am reading “That Sounds Fun” the author Annie F. Downs talks about the joys of being an amateur.  You can have fun in what you are doing, because you are doing it for yourself and to do just that, have fun.  When my daughter is drawing or painting or doing any type of creativity, she is doing it because it brings her joy.  She isn’t earning money for her projects, nor is she having people beating down our door for her creations (though I am still waiting for my original masterpiece from her that she is still “working” on).  She may one day do one or both of these things but for now she is happy to sit at the table for hours or hide away in her room to do the thing she loves. 

I love to push myself, to prove that I can do something.  As I was sweating bricks today trying to keep up with the super sweet but bossy trainer on my FitOn App, I realized that it wasn’t the trainer that was keeping me going, it was me.  The trainer is on my iPad.  I could turn her off at any moment, instead I choose to follow along because I know I will get energized later because I accomplished the workout.  I treat myself the same way when it comes to my Hospice and Palliative Care training, when I am playing the lead role in wife and mom, and when I try my hardest to train people at work to do the job they are being asked to do.  Even with all of this I am trying to remain an amateur.  I want to keep enjoying what I am doing.  It is not always easy because the kids do things their way, the co-worker doesn’t want to do their best, and there are days when I really do not want to do one more squat with a leg lift. 

In the world of knowing the latest and the greatest and posting the picture as soon as it is taken so that people can see you do actually do things, being and doing something just to do it starts to disappear.  Who says that the world needs to know that you just finished the exercise, or the painting, or that your child just scored a goal in soccer?  Why can’t it be that we stay in the moment and enjoy it.  When you come to my house, there are masterpieces everywhere.  I have pictures up painted by my kids when they were under the age of five.  I have a BBQ cover that my hubby built, that is creative and built solid.  I have paintings from friends and pictures that I have taken.  They are masterpieces to me because I know the story behind them.  I know they were created by amateurs just doing what they love, not for the glory.  They were created by people who sat down one day and thought “wouldn’t this be fun, or if I draw it this way, it can be built and look the way I want it to”.   Simple, fun, and for no fame.  Perfect.  The world is going to judge us for so many different things, so why not save some things for ourselves to enjoy without the world looking in?  Until next time:

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited for all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.

Albert Einstein

The Fickle Heart

The world in which my heart lives is such a fickle place. 

As I sit here in my work vehicle watching and waiting for my son’s soccer practice to be over, I know that if I really want to be truthful, I would love to already be at home getting ready to eat dinner.  Here I sit though because this is important to my little man, and he enjoys the game and being around other kids.  I find it silly that as they practice they have to be wearing masks.  They are outside and there are a total of maybe 10 kids plus the coach on this really big field that I will reiterate is outside.  The rules state though that masks must be worn and so the kids do. 

The year of the virus has been a tough one, I miss the hugs and the lunch dates, but I have enjoyed the kids home more and the fact that I can take them to work with me.  I love the differences we have as people, I love that some of us are good at sports and others love to quilt.  I love the hotheads and the ones that are so calm it’s strange.  I love that we have different opinions and that we all tend to live our lives in our own ways.  I love that even as I step into my own home I will hear a different language being spoken (my eldest daughter is learning German).  I love seeing that my cousin in California is a chef/personal trainer/woodworker.  I love all of this because it is what makes us all unique.  I would not want to be like someone else.

I am reading this book about a gal who writes a blog, she talks about deep down joy, but doesn’t necessarily always feel it.  I relate with her, now more than ever only because things are so mixed up in life right now.  I won’t say it’s bad, but there are days when I don’t really know who I am other than a mom, wife, vet tech, Christian, but deep down I am a bit lost, and then I go on a walk with my dogs and I start to see that I am me.  I love the new wonder of the dogs seeing a horse for the first time, or when as I am walking a motorcycle drives by and I get the urge to fly.  I love the sense of accomplishment when I finish a project, blog post or craft and I know deep in my bones that I got something from it, and that is all that matters. 

I sat in church on Easter Sunday having the hardest time not crying.  The songs that were being sung just hit right at the core of who I am.  They also showed my what I had let go, and made me think of ways that I could get back what I have lost.  I realized as I sniffled and blinked back tears, trying hard to just keep singing, that I am not the center of my universe.  I am not my own creation, at some point God thought of me and said I really want her to live, and I want her to know me, and so He made it happen.  The mystery gets lost to me sometimes when I am in the hustle and bustle of life and I am worrying about this or that.  I forget that all it takes is a whisper to reconnect me. 

My son’s practice is about to end, which means I will get to go home and enjoy the craziness of the household.  I know all too soon I will look back on these days and think of how simple they were.  We will have other crisis’s to live through and new worries to add to our thoughts, and in all of it, will I remember that I am a somebody or will my fickle heart let me think I am just what my titles are and nothing more?  I am hoping I will grow and move and enjoy the journey I am on, and realize that I am so much more than what I think I am.  Until next time:

You are under no obligation to be the person you were a year, a month, or even 15 minutes ago. You have the right to grow. No apologies

fiton.com

Happy Easter, the Day After

Easter egg hunts and candy galore.

For some this holiday is just about the candy, hunts and the all might bunny, for others (me included) it’s about saying “HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!” Last year right around this time churches were shut down with what seemed like the rest of the world. We had a virus going around that we didn’t seem to know a whole lot about and it scared us, due to the impact it was having on us humans and how quickly it was spreading. There is still that fear now, but a little more subdued because we know a little more about it and we have a vaccine that is helping. This year though, we got to celebrate as a church family together in church, and for me that is powerful. It helps me reset my selfish thoughts into more selfless ones, and to tell you the truth I need that more than just Easter but for at least this past Sunday I could get into the promise that Christ died for my sins and is alive!

Easter this year snuck up on me though, and to quite a few other people as well. Maybe it’s because it’s earlier in the month than normal, or that fact that I haven’t gone shopping in a while and when I finally did, it was for Easter candy and the store I was counting on for said candy was already 99.9% sold out. No need to panic right? I mean I did just say that this holiday is more about the promise that Christ is risen, but I will admit, Easter candy is some of my favorite candy. Oh and the Easter egg hunts I “make” my kids do so that they could find the elusive empty egg so they can run and tell me what the significance of the empty egg means so they can get a prize. Saturday my son and I did an Easter Egg Hunt that was put on by a local church. It was a driving scavenger hunt where we got another clue at the different places we drove to. We told each other we wouldn’t cheat and look at the answer on the back of the clue, and for the most part we held to that, with the exception of one time when we had gone to two different furniture stores to find out they were not the correct answer to the clue. We had fun, and Tyler got a big bag of candy at the end of the hunt. He is still at an age where doing these activities are still fun. My girls are just happy to go along with my shenanigans at home so that they have the appropriate sugar rush to welcome them into Monday.

So with how important the holiday is, do I act any differently on Monday. Do I go back to my selfish ways? Do I promise like New Year’s Resolutions to do better and be better? To be honest I have to answer yes to all of these questions. I wish I could say that I am perfect and I don’t make mistakes but I am so far from perfect. I screw up all the time. I promise myself I won’t yell at the kids when I am frustrated, but I still do. I promise to judge less, but then find myself wondering why someone I know doesn’t work as hard as I do. I try and read my Bible more and pray more, but then Instagram takes over. I try and not let guilt rule parts of my life but it has a way of sneaking in, when I have a weak moment. Christ died for me because I am a sinner, and I needed Him to and He knew that. As I tried to explain to my daughter a few times, perfection is not in my blood, nor is it in hers, but we are called to try. We are called to love and not judge. We are called to be humble, kind and have integrity. We are called to live with the hope of Easter in our hearts. The world will throw us every which way and cause us to doubt to our core. People will fail us, but with the hope of Easter in our hearts, we know perfection is not the end call, love is. I hope your Easter was filled with fun, eggs, yummy candy, and visits with family and friends. I hope that if you are a believer, you celebrated the holiday for what really represents. Happy Easter from my family to yours. Until next time:

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us

Romans 5:8

Self Doubts and the Love of Change

Am I being too bossy?

I have found in the last few weeks I have been asking the question “am I being too bossy?” I am not talking in the family setting since I don’t tend to see them much during the week, so I leave the “bossy-ness” to the hubby on that one. I mainly start thinking this way when I am at work. I love my job, I love the people I work with, and I have to love change in this field because it happens often, but what also happens often is the unknown. Way back when I was an assistant the technicians that were my trainers and mentors drilled it into my head that we always needed to be prepared for anything that walked through our door. We even went as far as having emergency drills so that each person knew what their job was and how fast they had to get the jobs done. This is what I try and teach the assistants helping in the hospital I am in now. With that being said, I expect people to be always be in forward motion. Think ahead, plan ahead, look around you and see where you can be of most use. This is where change comes into play, and where I start to sound like my grandma when I was a kid. Young adults these days don’t see the value of hard work, and I dont’ really get it. Taking pride in a hard days work is a good thing.

It is hard for me (being a self driven person) to not expect others to be that way. So when real life doesn’t happen that way I have to adapt and learn that not everyone is like me. There are those out there who do not mind taking their time. Change # 1 for me. I sometimes have a hard time when someone tells me their way of doing something and they feel I should do it that way too, even if the way I am doing the same task gets the job done. This is a hard one, this is the kind of change I don’t do well with. I know it is a stubborn streak in me but it also sets a fire under me. Now this happens at home and at work. My hubby loves to do the “next times” and the “this is how I would have done it’s”, and then I find that I am saying those same things at work. Maybe that’s why I dislike it so much because I find that I am doing it myself to other people. He means well, just as I do, and I know it is just constructive critism, but to have it sound as if the way something was done is wrong, when it actually is just a different way of doing it, gets me fired up. Is there a change for that?

So when it comes to change and self doubts how do we cope with these topics? I mean I can’t keep going around work asking people if they thought I was too bossy? I really don’t have the ability to change people’s work ethics either. Yes I can tell them what is expected of them, I can encourage them, and guide them, but at the end of the day, it’s up to them to push themselves.

Change is hard, we have to deal with it daily. Self doubt is hard, but we can chose if we want to deal with it daily instead of changing our thought processes. Teenagers have this innate ability to bring out the self doubts of parents everywhere. One day they are chatting and engaging and the next you can barely get a word out of them. Most days keep them alive is an adventure, did they eat? Did they sleep? Really? What is that thing you are wearing? It’s like they are two year olds on steroids’. One of my girls says she hardly ever sleeps, but doesn’t really look like a walking zombie to me. My son has so much energy and when I wander into his room to figure out why I see the stashes of snacks and candy wrappers. Oh! and tell me why there is this need to always be on electronics? All of this is change too. I could say that when I was a child I wasn’t this way, but my momma would probably say otherwise.

Prayer, patience, and a lot of exercise seems the way to get through these “unstable” times. Changing the doubting thoughts into positive thoughts is also mandatory. I find when I am at my breaking point, I call up by bestie and have lunch. We talk shop, encourage each other as mommas, have some laughs and cheesecake and then go on with our days. Just as I wish work ethics were more important, I also wish that doubts didn’t have to play such a large role in my life. What I lean on is what’s important, God, my faith, lots of prayers, family and friends, and my knowledge that no, I am not being too bossy, I am just pushing people to the potential I see in them. Until next time:

The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

unknownami.com

Who Cares, Self Care

It’s amazing the power of tears

Yesterday was a hard day, it was the first full day of the kids being back from their grandparents house. They had been there for spring break, and had had a blast with the cousins and each other, with only one “breakdown day” when my oldest called to let me know she had a hard day and was experiencing the residual effects of a panic attack. It seems to always be a bit hard the first couple of days when we are all together. The kids getting back into the routine of family life and us parents getting back into the routine of having three kids back after a week of relative quiet and calmness.

Anxiety and panic attacks have been a part of my life story and though I don’t have to deal with them much anymore I do have triggers that will increase my anxiety and cause me to react. My reactions lately are to go to the person that caused the anxiety spike and give them a piece of my mind. This tends to release the pent up emotions along with a good cry, but then I tend to feel bad afterwards for “letting them have it” when it might not have been just what they did that caused the anxiety to spike in the first place. For instance: yesterday morning the subject of the kids towels was brought up. With my hubby doing a lot of the laundry lately he noticed the kids use a lot of towels. So he brought it up to them, they went into the “blame game” which meant they stopped listening to what my hubby was saying, which frustrated him and made the yelling start. I hate when people yell, so I started to get worked up, which didn’t help matters at all. To make it worse we were leaving soon after to go to church and my mindset wasn’t there anymore. After we got back from church, all was calm until the “say thank you to your brother” problem came up. My daughter has an issue with being forced to do things. Me telling her she needed to say thank you was one of those things. That was my last straw. I was already still worked up from the morning, I still was thinking about the breakdown that had happened while the kids were at their grandparents, and then when my daughter didn’t want to do what I was “forcing” her to do I was done. I did not do what my devotion I had read told me to do. I thought I was going into the conversation with love but instead I went in telling my daughter all the ways she was wrong.

There was no patience, kindness or gentleness in my tone. I definitely did not use all of the self control I could have used. I also didn’t give myself enough time to calm down. This momma missed the mark on a few of the “fruits of the spirit”. What this also made me realize is that I was not taking care of myself. I was allowing myself to get worked up when the yelling started and when the disrespect showed it’s face. Self care is extremely important and so before I went back in to talk to my daughter, I went out back and had a good cry. I had a good slam to my door, and I had a good heart to heart with God. I let Him know exactly where I stood on this whole momma and wife gig. I told Him I didn’t want to do it anymore, that it was too hard, that no one listens anyways and that what I did didn’t matter. The people in my family were going to do what they were going to do regardless of what I say. And you know what? God spoke to my heart and said “exactly”, the people in my home are individuals that have their own thoughts and beliefs. They are not little “mini me’s” and that is why this job is so hard, but I don’t have to do it alone, and I am not alone. Funny thing is, I opened my devotion up to Monday’s devotion and it was about the “self-centered outlook”. You know how you fix that? By helping others, but in order to help others you need to be right with yourself. Philippians 2:3-4 says:

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

I had a talk with my family after my talk with my daughter.   I had to because it was important for me to find that joy again.  So I let them know I am always here for them.  I will love them and I will pray for them.  I let them know I will not stay in the room though when yelling starts, and I will speak my mind (with love) when disrespect happens.  I can't be there for my family when I am not taking care of myself.  My job as a wife and momma is to be their rock, and so I must lean on my own Rock to do my job well.  My platform for peace is prayer, and my stronghold is Christ.  People will let me down, but I know that no matter what happens Christ is always with me and will give me the strength I need when I "just don't wanna" anymore.  Until next time:

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint

Isaiah 40: 31

I Am Not Enough

Am I a pawn or a soldier?

Going to church is an important part of my family’s routine. My husband and I were brought up in the church and we wanted to make sure that our kids were too. When the pandemic hit it was harder for me than probably the rest of my family that we couldn’t go to church because it was a place that I could worship and find rest from a busy week. We started going virtually but it really wasn’t the same though it did help to fill the void of no church at all. Now don’t get me wrong I still studied the Bible on my own but there is just something about getting together with other believers and learning and praising together. So when we were able to start going back, we did but even that was different since our kids wanted to still keep doing the virtual church. So my hubby and I came up with a solution and said that every other week we would go to our normal church as a family and then on the off Sundays they could stay home and do the virtual church services they liked too. There was one caveat to this though on Sunday nights we would discuss what we learned and talk about how we could apply it to our lives.

As a family we didn’t want to sit back and allow a problem to stop us from learning at growing in our faith. In this world if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. So this brings be to the fact that I am not enough, none of us are really. We were not made to be our own saviors, our own soldiers against the fight of all the bad in the world. We were not called to be pawns either, we were not called to be pushovers, to be people that others have control over. We were made to be individuals who are not enough by ourselves but fully enough when we let Christ into our lives to help us be who we are called to be. Every day I wake up knowing that I am fighting a battle. A battle for my kids, a battle for myself and my husband. This is not your ordinary battle, it mostly is played out in our brains and our thoughts. As my husband I talked with the kids tonight over dinner we talked about how much we like to compare ourselves to others. My daughter is writing little online books and has 1.4k readers, whereas I have my blog with 35 followers, do I start to compare? My friend has a successful online clothing company that another friend of mine was envious of because she can barely get hers off the ground. Going onto Facebook and I see some guy has a bigger buck than his buddy…..the list can go on and on.

In order to be soldiers we need to bypass all of this, it is what makes us pawns. If we want to go further in this world we need to realize that we are not enough by ourselves. All too often we are trying to fix the problems we see in front of us not realizing that the problems we see are not the things to fix, it is the selfishness, pride, haughtiness, individualism, disrespectfulness..etc that need to be dealt with. Think of it this way, those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who are humble will be exalted. The only person we need to be like is Christ. If you don’t know what he is like the Bible will show you and tell you.

One year while I was the leader of the youth group at our church, we were learning about Easter. When I thought about the lesson I wanted to get across to the teens I realized that if I just stood in front of them and talked that the message wouldn’t really sink in, so I got a little bit creative. I split them into groups and had different rooms set up throughout the church. The first room, the teens had to look through newspaper articles and cut out stories that highlighted people helping other people. They then would tape them up on the wall and tell us why they chose that particular story. This was done so that they could see people helping people like Christ helped those around him.

The second room thank you cards were placed on the table and they were just asked to think of someone who was important to them that they could write a thank you card to. We told them they could take the cared with them or we would mail it for them so that the person would get this special note. Some of them picked teachers others their parents, and still others a special adult in their lives. This was so they could see that saying thanks to someone special was like saying thank you to Christ for what he did for us on the cross.

The third room had basins of water and dry towels, all we asked them to do in this room was to pick a partner and wash their feet. As you can imagine the teens were a little grossed out by this, and understandably so, a lot of the kids had just finished their sports practice and had the same shoes and socks on from the day. With a bit of encouraging the teens went through with the task. This room was set up to show the teens that the world doesn’t revolved around them, they need to learn to serve. Christ served those around him and taught that serving is better than being served.

The last room was back in our main meeting spot. Food was set up on the tables (we had pre-arranged to have a potluck), we talked about how Christ took care of his followers. All the way up until the end and then even after. When we don’t let worry consume us and we trust that our needs will be met we are like Christ.

I love that I am not enough, I love that I don’t have to depend on myself to be the best mom, the best wife, the best worker, the best friend, the best Christian. If I depended on myself for these things I would fall flat on my face and would fail every time. I am a soldier, I need to fight the war that goes on in between my ears. I need to step back and not allow those around me to influence the way I see myself. I need to show my kids how to be “not enough” either. When I do this they will be stronger and more able to fight the battles that they have come at them. Don’t be a pawn. You have to stand for something, so make it worth your time and your heart. Until next time:

When you are alone you can be anyone you thing you are: a loving spouse, a loyal employee, a good parent. It’s when you get around others that the truth comes out, so who are you?

The Kids Are Gone!

Spring break is upon us and we are kid free, so I thought why not compile a top ten list of things to do on spring break. If you are like most people you have seen the beautiful pictures that people put up on Instagram or Facebook of the places they have been. I follow a lot of Instagram accounts of people that take their dogs and even cats to national parks and hike around, or even this one chick that seems to find all of that natural hot springs in Oregon and takes pictures of herself soaking in them. I think the closest hot tub I will get to this spring break is the one in my bathroom (and that’s if I hop in quick enough to enjoy the hot water before it turns cold). I even have posts from families within my community that are these gorgeous shots of their families at the beach in Maui, or looking over the edge at the Grand Canyon. They are fun to follow and I know they are having a blast, my hubby and I well, we sent the kids to the grandparents.

This is almost a yearly tradition, minus the few years I got adventurous and did trips like driving down to Disneyland, or one year I took the kids up to Washington to go and stay and the Great Wolf Lodge for the weekend. For as long as my kids have been born though the yearly spring break trip to the grandparents place has been the thing to do, so this year is no different, except that now the cousins live in the same area which is great. The “handoff” of kids is usually a location that is a midway point for both of us. We meet, have lunch, talk for just a bit and then hug and kiss the kids before they leave. Now don’t get me wrong we miss the kids while they are gone, but oh! to just be able to think without the constant conversations that play out in front of me is nice. Tim and I actually got to just be adults. So onto the list of things to do on spring break:

  • Go shopping for new furniture.
    1. Now normally our budget would let us fork out a small fortune for new living room furniture but thanks to the stimulus check (thanks US Government!) we got a full set
Sofa from Ashley Home Funishings
  • Go shopping at Costco/Target without having to fight the “Can we go yet?, I’m bored! He’s just buying that because I am!”
Photo by Omar Abascal on Unsplash





  • Go on a motorcycle ride and not have to worry about how long of a trip it is (sorry dogs, might have to lounge on the couch for a few more minutes)😁
  • Take the dogs for a walk
  • Have a conversation about life, goals, future, money, really anything you want without being interrupted (kind of, kids still text you 😉) . I was talking to Tim yesterday on our way home that I felt that I could actually process things now. I am definitely one that likes to think about things, especially when it comes to new plans, new ideas, new projects. It’s not so easy to do when you are always on the go and when you get home time seems to fly even quicker since your hubby and the kids want to talk with you.
  • Take time to get stuff done around the house, but make sure to do it with your favorite music on and end the day with ice cream for dinner.
  • Sleep in and read a book
  • Challenge your sister to a workout challenge and then focus on beating her
  • Have a lunch date with a friend
  • Do whatever you need to do to do you. We don’t tend to take care of ourselves when we have others we are responsible to take care of. For me, when I am around people too much, my brain hits a brick wall and I need a “restart” so that I can move forward with my day. How about you?

Spring break can be a lot of things for a lot of people. My boss doesn’t really do anything during spring break because her daughter is homeschooled. I have those friends that take big trips during this time to places like Hawaii or Montana. Then there are people like me and my family. I still have to work so we do smaller trips to the grandparents or we end up doing stuff around town. These are all fun, these are all different and I say as long as you are doing you then go forth and go do your thing. Until next time:

Doing what you like is freedom, doing what you love is happiness

Thinking Too Much

Can someone give me a limit on how many things I can think about?

Whine, whine, shuffle, whine, shuffle…..this is what I hear every morning for the past 2 months since we got our puppy Charlie. I don’t know how her internal clock got switched to 6am in the morning especially when are alarms don’t even go off until 6:30, but here we are. Most mornings I treat her like I did my kids when they were babies, I try and lay as still as I can, I hold my breathe and I will her to go back to sleep for another 1/2 hour, and just like my kids when they were babies I get up and take care of her. I tell you, this girl is like a lightening bolt when she is let out of her crate. She zigs and zags, jumps on the bed, off the bed, over Jorj (our other dog), on Jorj, tries to find Tim’s head under the covers, you get the idea. She is a puppy on crack, but then we start to get ready for our walk and her focus changes. She sees her harness come out and she knows it’s time to go at the click of the buckle.

This is how I feel like my brain is sometimes. Tim and I could be walking along talking about the new remote he bought and the next thing I know I am thinking about the conversation I had yesterday. I have missed whole conversations because I got a text, didn’t even read it all but, because of the little tid bit I did get I go into another place in my brain, which is why I now try and leave my phone out of site when I am with someone. I am also a processor, I can have someone tell me something, or have something happen and three days later start talking about it because I have thought it thru enough that now I have something to say. Today was a day of not processing much at all. I felt like I was going through the motions of my job. It really started even before work began. My hubby had said something to me that rubbed me the wrong way, which then unbeknownst to me set the overall mood for the day, in a weird way. I didn’t leave the house cranky, and I felt like I had a calm demeanor at work, but something about the way the day felt, made me off. In the book “Get out of your head” by Jennie Allen she talks about the power of your thoughts. If you have too many negative thoughts roaming around in your head it will affect your health, but if you choose to train and change your thoughts to more productive and positive ones, you will start to see the healthy affects on your overall wellbeing.

Today there were just too many thoughts in my head. My workday started in “go mode” and ended in the same light. I had what my hubby had said to me, to what I had to remember to do for the clients, to helping the pets, to helping the doctor, to remembering that student/teacher conferences were this afternoon. My thoughts would then jump to the conversation I had with a friend last night, to a conversation I need to have with my doctor today. These were all mixed into the fact that there is definitely some thinking that has to happen while at work, like medication calculations, tracking vital signs, and remembering which animals like to bite vs. lick you when they see you. Wrap all this up into the momma brain I have that reminds me that my kids still need to have a functioning momma when I get home and Oh! I have to put a reminder into my phone to tell me when I need to take care of my daughter’s fictional horse while she is at my in-laws for spring break.

Starting to sound a little crazy I know, and having a time out built into each day would be amazing. In my blog post from a few days ago “Breathe in Breathe Out“, I talk about just that. We as humans think too much, but we don’t take the time to just stop and breathe. In a recent book by Carrie Stephens called “Holy Guacamole”, Carrie was living the fast paced life of a momma mixed with being a pastor’s wife. She had certain expectations bestowed upon her based solely on the fact that she had those too labels. She was always on the go, working hard to get her kids places, keeping her house in order, and doing the things that were put on her because her hubby was a pastor. So one day while with her friend at a restaurant she was ranting about all of the above and ended the rant by saying she felt like she was the left over rice and beans that had been left on her plate. Oh how I related to her story. In no way am I a pastor’s wife, but the labels are still there and the fast paced life is too. Carrie’s friend wisely told her that she in no way was the left over rice and beans but was actually the guacamole that is never left behind and most people love. If most of us were in the right state of mind we would take our cues from the one who knew severe stress but still found time for peace Jesus.

If you are a Bible reader (and even if you are not) you know or have heard about Jesus and the life he led. If there was anyone that knew stress it was Him. If you look closely at His life though, you’ll see that He always made time to be in the quite, in the stillness, so that he could just breathe, listen and know He was close to His father. Most often though He had to work to get to His quiet spots. He had to get into a boat and row to the middle of a lake, He had to sneak away in the darkness of the early morn or late night, He had to find ways to get to His quiet times, and He did. So why can’t we? I know some momma’s who find their quiet in the bathroom, while others set up a comfy chair in the living room and deem it as theirs and theirs alone. As summer slowly approaches I look forward to climbing into the hammock under the maple tree. The goals of the quiet time is to STOP thinking too much, actually it’s to stop thinking at all. It’s to notice and enjoy your surroundings. This takes practice, but is worth it. So where would you go? How would you find your breath? I would love to hear. Until next time:

Always end the day with a positive thought. No matter how hard things were, tomorrow is a fresh opportunity to make it better.

Unknown

I Can’t Wait To Go To Bed

Is it really only 8:30pm?

Most days I wake up go on a walk with the hubs and the dogs and then get ready for work. Simple enough, it’s what most people have: a routine. Our routines may differ in what we do but usually people will do the same things each morning. Often when we get home from our walk Tim (the hubs) will get his coffee going (to save himself as well as the rest of us), and then sit at the table scrolling through Facebook. My approach to the morning is quite different. I do start with some caffeine but it’s in the form of Spark, multivitamins. I tend to then do my exercise routine and read my devotions. Shower and breakfast come next and then making my lunch so that I can head out the door for work. My hubby is a full time student and is home with the kids, while I head to work getting back right at dinner time. Since my day varies so much in where I end up (I am a mobile vet tech), routine is somewhat thrown out the window once I leave the house.

I am a creature of habit but at the same time I love a challenge. There is a lot of “thinking outside of the box” in the veterinary world which keeps my mind challenged, but what it also does is make me hit a wall right around dinner time. It is literally like a brick wall popped out of nowhere and hit me square in the head. I am lucky I come home and the kids talk to me about Minecraft, Fortnite and Star Stables. It’s unfortunate though when the hubs wants to talk real world stuff with me. That is saved for at least after dinner when I have had some food consumed, and the brain realizes that it doesn’t have to go into shut down mode. Quarantine life has greatly restricted my “alone time”. I need a recharge after being around people all day. I love getting lost in a book, I also love my bed. Some people have a quiet nook with a cozy chair, others have a balcony and a lounge, while others can get comfortable laid out on their couch. I love to get in comfy clothes, prop the pillow up on my bed and crawl under the blankets. I mostly read, but in desperate times of brain to wall slamming I skim the Instagram posts, watch the reels, and get lost in the cute little puppy dog eyes and noses that need to be bopped. These are not my most proud moments, but ya know sometimes those times need to happen.

I actually get excited to go to my bed at night. As the kids start drifting to their beds because bedtimes are near, I start to drift to my bedroom. The dogs even know the routine and get confused when I am in the living room later than 8:30pm. Wanna hear something even more weird. I love waking up on Monday mornings, for no other reason than I get to see what my new workout routines are for the week. I have signed up to get random 30-40min workouts assigned to me each week. I have this super awesome app that has trainers do classes for free. One of the perks is a weekly email that you get that informs you, that you have three new routines waiting for you on the app. The only way to get this email is finishing the previous weeks routines. It’s like opening a small gift each Monday morning. Now I know at this point a lot of you are want to look at me like I am out of my mind, but it really comes down to the fact that working out makes me feel like I am accomplishing something for myself. The email is just the motivation for the week. Again I know I should be happy to just be waking up in general but really, how many people do you know that like waking up on a Monday morning when really it means that work will start soon and kids will have to hustle to catch the bus? Let’s be honest here😂

Then there is the feeling of finally getting what you were supposed to get. Let me explain a bit. It’s the “aha moment” when the pastor preaches on something and you can finally say “I get it”. Or when you are able to get through to your teenager and need to celebrate with a nice big piece of cheesecake. Or when a prayer is answered. It’s the little accomplishments that make you want to dance the jig or just smile a little bit bigger. Life is not always easy, I have said this before, so when you can look forward to the things that make you happy (whether big or small), I say go for it and do it with all of your heart.

As I was looking through my calendar yesterday to see what it held for the week, I saw an entry that said “heart check with Mary”. My friend Mary has had a real tough start to the new year, and will push herself to keep going forward without making sure that she herself is doing ok. So this reminder was put on my calendar due to a request another friend of mine had made. This friend had gone through great loss in the last year and over that time, didn’t have people do “heart checks” on her, so when Mary went through some of the same situations, my friend asked me to schedule “heart checks” on Mary. This reminder brought some joy to my heart, it meant a good long conversation with Mary about life, her family and how she is doing. Every once in a while I will see notifications in my calendar that I pre-scheduled so that I would have small happy moments just to make sure they get done. Ok, I know what you are thinking, you have to pre-schedule happy moments? Yes, yes I do, because if I don’t I forget that I am not just a momma, wife, and vet tech but I am a person who needs to do things for herself.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

What makes you smile? What do you look forward to at the end of the day? What makes you want to wake up in the morning? What makes you want to do the jig, or giggle? Is there a song that comes on that makes you smile, or think of someone special? I was going through songs yesterday looking for songs that remind me of my tribe, my people so that I could make ringtones for them. I loved just sitting there going through the songs, even texting my sister to see what she thought would be a good song for her. It was a way to get me out of the moment, but still be there if my family needed me. I hope you have your little moments that make you smile, I hope that you find some if you don’t. I would love to hear what they are. Until next time:

…..We’ve got reason to get up, reason to get down, He done traded our sin for joy, and now that joy wants out

Happy Dance

Happy Dance

Mercy Me’s song “Happy Dance”

Breathe In Breathe Out

Photo by Emiliana Hall on Unsplash

Take a step back and just breathe

Over the past week a couple of the Instagram pages I follow sadly brought up that three of their fellow veterinary colleagues had committed suicide. They talked about how though these three were doing well in their fields the mental and emotional stress that they had been feeling is what ultimately led them down the road they went. The veterinary field is not a easy field to be in, we love animals, we hate to see them in pain, we want to support the pet parents, but we also have to set boundaries to make sure that our well being is not affected by the job. When you add the long hours and for some, wages that barely pay the bills, it’s not hard to understand that it can get overwhelming. I have been in the veterinary field for almost 16 years, I worked from being in the boarding facility to the hospital/surgery setting. I have dealt with, life and death, sickness and healthy, I have dealt with super sweet clients and clients that have been so mean I had to take a break to collect myself. I have worked with bosses who had the mentality of “lowest dose possible” except with the dose being replaced with “staff”. They would have the smallest staff count they could have and still be able to take care of the caseload (barely).

I work with a small group of people now, but the doctor and the hospital manager focus on the well being of their staff over the ever present caseload. When I started full time with them, I was giving them all I had and more because that is what I had to do at the hospital I was at before. I didn’t have time to breathe let alone think. Then the doctor and the hospital manager sat me down and in their own way said I didn’t have to do that anymore. I was to take my breaks and actually “take them”, I was to start later in the morning so that I would have more time to get personal stuff done. They have even made it a point to have monthly meetings to make sure I was happy. This wasn’t done just for me. The other staff members are treated the same way. It seems self care is important.

Which brings me to breathing. It seems silly to talk about it, since it is essential for life, but have you ever noticed that when you stop and take a deep breath start to calm down? While I was in college my roommates noticed that during finals week I would sigh a LOT. I did it so much I stop noticing I was doing it But my body was trying to “sigh” out the stress I was under. When you inhale a long breath and then hold it for a second before you release it, it causes your heartrate to slow down, which starts to calm your body down. The same goes for when you breath rapidly (hyperventilating) it makes the heart beat faster and the amount of CO2 builds up in the bloodstream which causes you to feel dizzy, which then makes your anxiety go up. When you step back from a situation, especially when it is a stressful situation and you focus on calming down, the quality of the breaths you take is essential.

As I go to work each day and deal with people worried about their pets, I wonder how it would be if we saw each other as the people we are. I wouldn’t just see them as the client who is worked up about their pet, and they wouldn’t see me as just the nurse who may know what I am doing and might try and get more money out of them. In these situations we all want the same thing, for the pet to be better and going home to his/her family. I am not saying all clients are this way, and I am not this way with all clients, but I can say that it is probably one of the factors that led to the veterinary professionals that took their lives to do so. Sadly it is a huge stressor and they may not have been able to do the self care needed to stop them from doing what they ultimately did.

I went to a client’s how recently to help her with her paralyzed dog. She had been texting back and forth with our receptionist about a bandage she had been trying to remove off of a couple of bed sores her dog had gotten. She had soaked the sites with warm water and the bandages were still not budging. She was starting to get worked up, and her husband who normally helps her was out of town. So when I called her she was almost desperate for help. So I went to her. When I got there she had her dog in the perfect set up, she had a rig and pully made with a sling for her dog to “hang” in. I came in calm, started to talk with her and while we talked I worked on loosening the bandages and stopping the bleeding. We cleaned and rebandaged the wounds and made her dog more comfortable. Could she have done this on her own? Yes, but since she didn’t have her support (husband) there and the bandages were not coming off, she started to panic. I knew I could bring in some calmness. I knew really what she needed was someone to say it’s ok, I am here and we will figure this out, and we did. Breathe in, breathe out. Most situations can be figured out by stepping back and taking a breather. Sleep on it, before big decisions. Calm down before saying something mean to someone, cry (soothing for the soul), but most importantly breathe. It may be the best thing you do for yourself. Until next time:

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

Why Are We Back To That Again?

Our conversation didn’t begin here

Have you ever noticed that when something is on your mind even the most random conversations tend to circle back around to what you were thinking about? I know this isn’t a new concept, it happens all of the time, but there are times when I wish it didn’t happen. When you are trying to be in the moment with the person you are with it gets awkward when you bring up this random thought that has been floating around in your brain.

This is the same phenomenon that happens in the vet world (probably other places too, but since the vet world seems to be my world mostly, this is where I wander to). There is a saying “it comes in threes” and basically it means if something is going to happen it will happen in triplicate. So for instance, about a month ago (on a Friday, of course) a puppy was brought in that had been vomiting but wasn’t having a bowel movement. First thought was foreign body in the intestines, which was confirmed with a abdominal radiograph. This meant we would have to do an exploratory surgery to find what it was the puppy ate. We were successful in removing a piece of a plush toy and we sent the puppy home and he is doing well. Sadly though, that was the first one, that means we have two more to go before that “bad streak” is done. Enter in puppy number two. So my super cute new puppy Charlie loves to chew on toys and will rip them to pieces. We watch her to make sure she doesn’t swallow any of the pieces and we try to pick them up before she gets the idea in her head, but this time we were not quick enough. Friday (don’t know why it’s always Fridays) I was at work and my hubby called me to say that Charlie threw up two times since she has had breakfast and he wasn’t sure if she had had a bowel movement. So I tell my doctor who tells me what I don’t really want to hear, we need an x-ray.

Charlie doesn’t do car rides well, but she did this one great which tells me she didn’t feel well. We get her in and get the radiographs done to have the doctor say she “doesn’t really like a gas pattern she sees, and that we should give Charlie some anti-nausea medication and see if we can get her to poop” if not, it meant exploratory surgery in the afternoon. I was never so anxious to hear if my dog went poop in my life. I sent my wonderful hubby home with some gloves and instructions to get Charlie moving and once she poops, dig through it and make sure she poops something out other than sh*t. You know you have a keeper if your hubby is willing to put on gloves to sift through poop for you. Luckily Charlie did poop and surgery was averted. So now we wait for number three, sadly we have to have one more dog/cat need x-rays for some random thing they ate, to finish out this cycle. I know it sounds crazy but once the third one happens it’s like magic, no more for a long time.

Which circles us back around to the first point: having a conversation and having a topic that you have had on your mind for a while pop into it. I think the reason this happens is because whatever that topic is, it’s important to you enough that it takes over. This may be a problem that needs to be fixed, it could be a person that needs a prayer, it could be an adventure that is coming up. Whatever it is shouldn’t be ignored. Just as in the vet world we don’t ignore the “comes in three rule”, people shouldn’t ignore something that keeps popping back into their lives.

I have learned over the years that ignoring the promptings of the brain can lead to worry and anxiety. When we choose to “take care of it later” we carry the worry and anxiety with us whether we know it or not. I’ve talked about my kitchen floor before. We had a remodel done a few years back, but the kitchen floor wasn’t done correctly so tiles kept popping up. We would replace tiles when needed but eventually got to the point of just having spots in our floor without tiles. Everyday I would look at the floor and hate it, until finally the hubby and I decided enough was enough. We pulled up all the tiles fixed the what was wrong underneath and laid down new flooring. When it was all done we both did this collective sigh that we didn’t even know we had been holding. The floor had been bugging us for years and we kept holding off on fixing it for various reasons, but when it was finally fixed the weight we didn’t know we were carrying was lifted. It’s a weird thing but it happens even with the smallest of issues.

Circling back around happens all of the time, it’s how we choose to deal with it that shows our abilities to cope with what is going on. Some problems are out of our hands so we pray, others are just a waiting game. Some circling around is because we are excited, and other times it’s because we want to make sure we are doing the right thing. Finding someone you trust to talk to helps, praying helps, heck just pushing forward and getting it done helps, but in the end ignoring it is never the answer. Until next time:

Scars are not signs of weakness, they are signs of survival and endurance

Rodney A Winters

Are You Happy?

There are so many ways to answer that question

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine that I haven’t seen in a little over 2 years. When she pulled up to the parking lot of my work, I almost (but not quite) dropped everything I was doing just so that I could go out to her and hug her. She had been doing a favor for her niece by bringing her dog to us that had eaten something that made her have an upset stomach. I ran out there like a momma who hadn’t seen her child in years. I think I hesitated only slightly when I got to my friend because I wasn’t sure if it was safe for me to hug her (her husband had cancer), but she gave me the open arms and I flew into them. My friend is the kind of person who is there for you. She was one of the first friends I had that helped when I needed someone to watch my baby when I had to go back to work. She let me sit on her couch and we would just talk. Even in the parking lot that familiar feeling overcame me that with this friend I could confide everything to her and she would still love me. So we talked about her grandkids, we talked about my kids and how much they have grown. We talked about her and her husband planning to travel again. We just talked. When her niece showed up to pick up her dog, I was in such a state of happiness that when her niece mentioned something about how she had not even gotten a hug, I immediately hugged her and then realized she was talking to her aunt. Seeing my friend was what I needed.

I am blessed to work with people that I get to call friends. Over the years I have found (at other jobs) that it’s hard to be friends with your boss, I mean they have to put their foot down at times and it’s not pretty. My boss now though really is a friend. You could say we grew up together (in our careers) and our families have grown up together as well. We aren’t super close, but that’s ok. I know I can count on her and she can count on me. Her office manager, and receptionist are friends too. I am lucky to have these relationships. They make me happy, but it doesn’t make answering that question any easier, when asked that in a meeting. I mean yes I am happy, I love my job, I love who I work with, and I love that I have the flexibility in my job to have my girls with me in the rig when I go on appointments, but when both sides are working hard to make sure the other side is happy it’s somewhat awkward to answer the question. I will say this it is really nice to be in a workplace where people are treated with respect and we genuinely have fun working with each together. That is happy.

Last night was church night for the kids, sometimes all three like going to church, but mostly it’s just two of the kids that really get excited to go. I pray a lot about this because church is important, but I know deep down I can’t force my kids to think or believe like I do. My hubby and I can guide and pray, and then pray some more, but at the end of the day, we plant the seeds, God waters them. Last night though, I didn’t have to fight anyone. I didn’t have to try and persuade, or try to understand why a person didn’t want to go. All three of my kiddos finished their dinners and hoped in the car to go. I am a firm believer that on the days you really don’t want to go, those are the days you should really be there. This made me happy that they all went, because even if they didn’t get much out of the message they still got to go and do fun things with their friends. In the times we are in that doesn’t happen very much, so I am happy at least for that.

Two nights ago I finished a really good book. It was one of those books that you make sure you set time aside just so you can read and not get bothered. Sadly I finished it, happily I finished it. I love books that aren’t too “heavy”. I like to get lost in the book. I like to think about what it is I read, even better when I can connect to the characters/author. It’s an escape for me. In my house my family likes to joke about the fact that while everyone (and I mean everyone) plays video games my nose is stuck in a book. I don’t do video games at all, my hand/eye coordination is probably horrible, but I could tell you some good stories based on the books I read. Like I said earlier though books are my way to unwind and escape. Sometimes my work can be stressful, sometimes being a parent/wife can be stressful. I wouldn’t trade what I do or have for anything, but I will escape it for a little bit. When reading it becomes “my time”, and this makes me happy.

Happiness is a feeling, it’s not selfish to be happy, but sometimes it’s hard to find the happiness in the world around us so we have to work at finding it. Happiness and joy are linked but you don’t have to have one in order to have the other. Joy comes from knowing who you are and being ok with it, it is knowing that you belong to Christ, it is finding peace in the moments. Happiness can come from everyday situations. You can have happiness and not know your joy yet. You can have joy and have times of not being happy. Happiness in all forms, sheets dried on the line (smells like summer), cheesecake, a child’s hug, a friend’s listening ear, a day on the couch, a motorcycle ride, time with family and so much more. So what does happiness look like for you? Until next time:

Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you’re in trouble, because that reason can be taken from you.

Is It Love Though?

All I want is peace and happiness

I was reading a devotion the other day about love. Shocker that the verse that is associated with the devotion was:

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

I live in a house with two teenage girls, a son and a husband who all have opinions on life and how it should be lived. We coexist with each other pretty well for the most part, but there are definitely times when I would love to maintain the peace. I have been told to “pick my battles” and I do for the most part, but when I choose to remain silent when I should speak up isn’t showing love to my family. This could be as simple as talking to one of the girls about a post they put up on Instagram and how they don’t see it as offensive but I do. It could be bringing up the “raw topic” of not getting the allowance for a week because the chores were not getting done. It could be about what to do with the tithe money when one of the girls wants to take a break from church for a bit. Some topics are simple and are mentioned once and then done. Others not so much, they turn into conversations that will last a long time because they are important ones about life. If I chose to not speak up about these different topics I would then be saying that I will tolerate what is happening and thus let them know that I think it’s ok. That would not be love.

The more and more I live in this world, the more and more I see that there is a lack of love. Not the gushy, sloppy love that is portrayed everywhere but the love that is patient, is kind, is not easily angered or self seeking. This is not easy. We get upset when someone cuts us off while on the way to work, we get even more upset when we try and have a conversation and get interrupted constantly. We get upset when our best laid plans go up in smoke just because someone announces they are going against the grain. I am not saying that we shouldn’t get upset, sometimes that needs to happen. Jesus had cause to get upset on multiple occasions, and when he did they were not temper tantrum fits. Jesus was very patient with those he met, he talked with people with love, and acceptance. Even when those same people were causing Him harm, he didn’t lash out but he did fight for them with prayer.

James 1:19-20 says this:
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires

James was talking to the twelve tribes that had been scattered among the nations. He was having to encourage and teach people that were in the world about what it will mean to be Christians and to have people mock and ridicule them. How closely this resembles our world today. Peace and happiness are properties to strive for, so are honesty and humbleness. A friend of mine that I worked with years ago saw I was getting upset with a client on the phone. The client wasn’t being the nicest of people and she was demanding that I take care the problem right then and there. I was getting frustrated with her as well as the person who had told her the wrong information that had caused the problem in the first place. So I put her on hold. I proceeded to go into the back treatment area to rant and let off some steam. My friend heard me and asked how she could help. I told her the situation, she listened and then said “here let me handle it”. I was curious to see how she would handle this client so I followed her back up to the reception desk. I was amazed! My friend got on the phone, and in a very quiet and calm voice she started talking to the lady. My friend had to repeat herself a couple of times, but that was only because she kept talking in a quiet and calm voice and the lady on the other end couldn’t hear her because she wasn’t expecting to have to “listen”. Even before the phone call was over I realized that I had the same problem the lady on the other end had, I didn’t think I had to “listen”. My friend calmed the lady down by being calm and listening. I learned that day, that most of the time when people are upset it’s because they feel like they are not being heard. I had gone into the conversation with the lady already geared up for a fight. I didn’t show humbleness, I was not patient, and I definitely had a list of wrongs I was sure this lady had. I didn’t go in with love at all.

Peace and happiness are only good if they are pure and true. If problems are ignored and conversations don’t happen just because you don’t want to upset the balance of peace and happiness, then what you have is not real. Sadly you will not be liked all of the time, this is hard for me to say because I don’t like having people think badly of me, but over the years I have learned that people are not the end all. God is. That is where the joy is found. I have had to have hard discussions with people, I have disagreed with choices being made, but I also realize I am far from perfect. If something needs to be said or done, I have to go and say it/do it with love and humbleness, and instead of fighting battles with harsh words and deeds, I need to fight them on my knees in prayer. Until next time:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James 1:22-24

Simpler Times?

Can we go back to the days when life was easier?

Was there really such a time? I am not so sure, I have been told that hindsight is 20/20. When you look back things seem like they were easier and simpler but were they? Parents look back and remember they used to think the toddler stage was hard, as they go through the teenage stage. Or when you had a good system going at work and then one small thing gets tweaked which changes everything. Or when the family dynamic gets changed but the attention of one furry little floofball who doesn’t like you when you wear your work clothes so she cowers and barks until your clothes are changed. Or when your teen decides that she wants to do things her own way and you have to step back and fight your battles in prayer. Over the last few weeks, ok months really life has been changing, I didn’t really notice the changes so much until I looked back and saw the “simpler times” compared to the times I have going on right now.

I remember as a young momma people telling me to enjoy them while they are young, time goes by so fast. So I would do my best to enjoy my times with my kiddos and to try not to worry about the upcoming teenage years. I am a newbie “teenage momma”. I have two teenage girls who are very, very different but the same as well. I was joking with them the other day about them teaming up to see how many grey hairs they could get to pop out of my head. I really do think they target me as the softie momma who tries to hear them out, but there are days where this momma heart can’t take any more. You can’t really prepare for the teen years, you can really only guard your heart with prayer, make sure not to take too many things seriously, have room for laughter and know most of what your teens throw at you is them feeling you out because they are trying to figure out who they are and they need to know you are in their court. This knowledge doesn’t stop me from wishing for the “simpler times” when their opinions closely matched yours, the biggest problem you had was that they didn’t want to eat the dinner you made them and the fact their fashion statement of wearing undies on their heads was the big thing that caused tears.

So where does joy come into all of this. I try to joyfully live life, and I do most of the time. But joy isn’t about happiness and laughter. Joy is about something deeper. It’s about knowing who you belong to. It’s about surrounding yourself with people you love and who love you back and will have your back. Joy is knowing that you don’t have to be ok all of the time. Joy is love of family and friends and knowing that your crazy teenage girls still trust you enough to talk to you even if what they tell you blows your mind and makes you want to bury your head in the sand. Joy is admitting to yourself that there are some things that are out of your hands. That you really don’t have control of “everything” Joy comes from knowing you don’t have to to have control.

I love looking back on the days when my kids were younger. The pictures show how “sweet and innocent” they were. I know when I was going through those times I would look back and remember how “easy” things were before kids. The problem is I keep looking back. It’s in the past. It doesn’t matter if they were “simpler times”. Those times are gone, being in the now is where I need to be. I learned a lot “way back when” but I am learning a lot now. I love having conversations with my kids. I love using the knowledge I gained from the past to grow in the now. I know looking back will happen. I know the future me will look back on what is happening right now and think “man those were simpler times”. I know that I will grow from these experiences I am having. Right now is stressful, right now is hard, right now is right where I want to be. Surround yourself with people and things that bring out the joy. Find God again, and pray, not as a last resort but like you are having a conversation with your best friend, because you are. Until next time:

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